Alumni profile - Mya Medina
After graduating, I tried a couple of different career paths, both in PR and journalism, but even then, I was tutoring after work or on weekends because I loved it so much. When I met Alex, Tutor House’s CEO and Founder, I was astounded by his commitment to making tutoring accessible to everyone (regardless of their financial situation).
Why did you study English and Drama at Queen Mary? English has been my life’s greatest passion; I enjoy reading and writing in equal measure and I was often drawn to Shakespeare, as well as more modern playwrights. Similarly, I enjoyed putting these plays in practice as well as writing and developing my own work. Both English and Drama provide a synergy; they are entwined and the perfect pairing to study together.
Moreover, I was never keen on just studying one subject at university. I loved both English and Drama, and Queen Mary offered both subjects with an incredible faculty and wonderful course reputation.
What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable? What modules did you like learning about and was there anything that surprised you in your studies? Although my degree ended almost six years ago now, some modules really stood out to me during my learning. I thoroughly enjoyed Representing London; writing the eighteenth-century city - it was fascinating to learn about the history of London and to understand what London was like through other mediums (such as Hogarth paintings). I also loved Writing Now - it was great to read novels that were emerging in a contemporary context and read outside of more established canonical literature.
In terms of surprises, I think I was continually taken aback by how wonderful the seminar structure was. All opinions were equally voiced, and through shared learning, we continually enhanced our understanding of the texts - which ultimately improved our essays.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary in particular? I am a strong believer of trusting your instincts; I visited several universities while considering the institution that was best for me, but on my first Open Day visiting the campus, I just knew. This was probably enhanced by the friendly faculty and Open Day tour guides who made my first taste of Queen Mary so special.
Can you describe your career path up to date and touch on your current role as Managing Director at Tutor House Ltd? My first taste of working as a tutor was actually during my experience studying at Queen Mary. As a student, I needed some additional income, and began tutoring. Instantly, I loved it. It was refreshing to revisit English texts I had visited in my GCSE and A-Levels and then to reteach these to younger students. I felt I was making a difference both immediately after the class and also after the student received their results and achieved the grade they deserved.
After graduating, I tried a couple of different career paths, both in PR and journalism, but even then, I was tutoring after work or on weekends because I loved it so much. When I met Alex, Tutor House’s CEO and Founder, I was astounded by his commitment to making tutoring accessible to everyone (regardless of their financial situation). He hired me as the Head of Education, and after working together for three years, the company has continued to grow. With the growth of the company, I expanded my role, moving into different areas of the business as I went - and finally to Managing Director.
Can you describe what a typical working day looks like for you? And how has your work been affected by the ongoing pandemic? One of the key elements I love about my role is the variety; I can be brainstorming new ideas for website design one day, and then helping build on our A-Level retake courses the next. I work a lot with client acquisition also, and it’s always great to talk to parents about their current education concerns and working with them and our expert tutors to solve them.
The pandemic has seen a fundamental shift for Tutor House; we’ve begun to move our teaching nearly entirely online now and we’ve found students have responded really well to this change. Moreover, we are having more tutors sign up than ever before as furloughed workers/the student community look for part-time work during these troubled times.
How did your time and study at Queen Mary help your career and development? And how does your degree in particular link to what you’re doing now? Well if it wasn’t for Queen Mary, I would never have become a tutor. However, my degree in particular supports me in everyday life. My love for English and writing means I have helped write content for Tutor House website and Drama taught me how to present myself to all people, in all walks of life, with confidence. Moreover, my time at Queen Mary stressed to me the importance of education (especially education for all).
Is there any advice you would give to current students or recent graduates considering their career options? The most important thing for current and recent graduates is to not lose hope; especially with the current pandemic. We welcome you to teach with us if you want to find some part-time work - and as with all things, please remember the hard times will come to pass.
What was so special about your time at Queen Mary? Can you give one or two examples of your most memorable moments? Some of the most wonderful moments at Queen Mary involve my participation in several plays and projects. I played Yelena in my first year in our rendition of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and worked on several performance pieces for Feminist 51 campaign week.
I also really enjoyed working as a tour guide and helper on the Open Days for external students. It was great to share my experiences of university life with them and watch them fall in love with the university for the first time like I did.
Do you have a favourite spot on campus? One of the best parts of Queen Mary’s Mile End campus is its proximity to the canal. The University hosted a series of events in that space, such as a floating cinema and market, which was great to visit. But even when there were no events, it was peaceful to just take a good book and sit on the grass by the water.
Complete the sentence: If I wasn’t Managing Director at Tutor House then I would be a conservation specialist. I love nature and believe we should be doing everything we can to protect our planet and all its inhabitants.
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