Moving Forward

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I thought I was all set. I thought I was ready.  All of my core coursework was completed.  I was working on the weekends and whatever free time I had was devoted to helping care for my grandfather.  I thought I was motivated.  I thought my goal to be a nurse was the end all, be all.  Acceptance letter received, required materials purchased, physical examination done, student I.D. obtained, first couple of weeks done  –   I had to make a choice: adapt or become defeated.  When I thought I had my life all planned out, suddenly: BOOM! I felt a big smack in the face. Continue reading “Moving Forward”

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Do you have Grit?

statue-1515390_960_720Recently, I came across a Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth. I had seen this Ted Talk once before in a class when I first started college and did not think much of it. When I came across it again, only a few months ago, what she talked about really resonated with me as a senior in college. In the video, she spoke about the idea of grit and the power of passion and perseverance. She talked about how she taught seventh grade math for the New York City public school district. Through teaching, she found that IQ was not the only thing that separated her best students from her worst. Some of her top students had lower IQ scores than her less successful students and vice versa. She then studied the question, “What characteristic leads a person to be more successful?”

Through her research, she found that the one defining quality in people who were successful was grit. It was not IQ score, socioeconomic status, or physical health. Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Duckworth said that grit is having stamina and the ability to weather the storms that life brings while continuing to work on your goals day in and day out. In her words, grit is living life like it is a marathon, not a race.

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This idea of grit has become a key theme both in and out of my academic life. Every day I have to “check my grit”…no really…about 3 times a day I say to myself in my head, “check your grit.”

I may be weird, but it is the difference between me going home to relax only to push more work onto tomorrow, or going to the library and setting myself up for a good week. I ask, “Am I working my hardest? Could I do more today to achieve my goals? What are your goals?”

If I just push a little harder today, then I will have a better tomorrow. This statement has proven to be overwhelmingly true in my life. Like all college students, I am vulnerable to procrastination, laziness, and discouragement. School is hard. And life is harder! No one is on their game 100% of the time. The great thing about grit is that it is not something you are born with or born into. Which means it can be learned over time. It also means that there is potential inside of everyone to succeed. Lazy days are inescapable. But remembering to check your grit on a regular basis can turn you from a person who can work hard sometimes, into a hard-working person.

The American dream is real. You can come from nothing and make something of yourself. I was a poor, mediocre student in high school with issues. Now I am an undergraduate student, taking graduate courses with a bright future ahead of me. Having grit is the difference between knowing what you want, and actually getting what you want. Having goals and actually achieving them. Do not let anybody ever tell you that you cannot achieve what you want to achieve. Because if you have the determination and passion to do something, you can do it. You can do it because this world is built off the backs of underdogs. This world is built off the back of gritty humans. And gritty humans get things done regardless of race, IQ, socioeconomic status, or cards that are dealt to them. Grit is a field leveler. It is that thing inside of yourself that no one else can tap into. That underutilized resource of hope and change. So, try checking your grit on a daily basis. Move your life into the direction you desire. Because no one knows your potential but you, and no one else is going to bring it out of you.


 

 


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:

Heather Intro

Heather M.
Class of 2018
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Blog Theme:
One Life’s Potential

Working Resolutions

Some have mixed feelings for work. Certain people love what they do, and then there are others who work just to survive.  Growing up I would observe my parents going to work and coming back home. All I knew was that they went to work for a few hours, and then came back home. I did not realize the actual meaning of work, so I just brushed it off.  I took their work for granted.

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My parents would try their best to get me whatever I wanted, from my favorite foods to toys. We moved to Albany, from Queens, when I was almost 11 years old. My dad had a new job up here which required a lot of overtime, so sometimes he would go to work for 2 days straight. There were times where I only saw my dad once or twice a week. A few years went by, and now I was almost 14. One night I was having a hard time falling asleep. I was thinking about my day, my actions that day, and things that have been going on around me recently. I started to think about how I do not see my dad as much, ever since he started his new job. That is when it hit me. He was working so hard to give my brother and I as much as he could. Since I was going to turn 14 that summer, I was going to be old enough to work.  I made a resolution that I would work so I would not have to keep asking my parents for money when I wanted to go places with my friends. I got my working papers and I worked for the next three summers. I did not make a lot of money, but I made enough to cover some of my expenses.

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Once I turned 16, I was able to work when school was not in session so I started looking for a weekend job. I was a minor with minimal work experience so that was the largest obstacle I had to overcome. There were many more qualified applicants, so almost every place that I had applied to did not call me back, or said they would but never did. I was starting to get frustrated but I knew eventually one of these places would hire me and once I was in, it would be much easier for me to get other jobs. There was a toy store in a plaza near my home. My mom worked at a bank in the same plaza. She learned that they were hiring people for the Christmas season. Although it was a seasonal position, I thought that, at least, it was something for now, so I went and applied. I got an on-the-spot interview and I was hired within a week. I finally got a job to work on the weekends and breaks. As the Christmas season was ending the manager decided to keep me. This made me ecstatic. I finally had a steady weekend job. Since they were a small shop, they were not able to give me many hours, but it was okay since school was still in session. I worked there throughout high school. The summer, before college I decided to take up a second job instead of sitting around all summer. This time around, the job search was easier and I was able to find a job within 2 weeks.

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I still work two jobs and go to school full time. I often am asked how I work two jobs,  go to school full-time, and maintain good grades. It is all about timing. If you waste less time and get stuff done, you will be just fine. There is also the motivation to work and cover my own expenses so my parents have one less thing to worry about. I was able to achieve this resolution, even though it took a few years to achieve. Things are not always easy but you have to keep trying. That’s the only way to succeed and also how I fulfilled my resolution.


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
Meet the Author

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Anik Paul
Class of 2019
Major: Economics
Minor: Business Administration
Blog Theme:
Resolutionary

The Power of Focus

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If you listen to any successful person talk about how they got to where they are, a lot of times, the word focus will be mentioned at some point. Everyone wants to be successful, but many of us lack focus. Although we live in this multitasking age, multitasking just does not work. And I am not just talking about daily tasks. I am talking about greater focus in life. Look back and be honest with yourself. Do you consider yourself to be a focused person? I personally do not consider myself  to be a focused person. I constantly have to remind myself, “Heather, be focused.” We are constantly getting distracted from what we need to be focused on. Whether we are distracted by our phones, other people, worried thoughts or, you fill in the blank. Continue reading “The Power of Focus”

Getting My Feet Wet

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I was raised by a hard working, motivating, and humble family.  My grandparents  started a business geared toward outdoor enthusiasts.  Shortly after, my father started his own business. When both grandparents fell ill, my family worked hard to maintain both businesses. This was a long period of great stress. Through all of this, I had to get through elementary, middle, and high school.  My social life was lacking. I did not fit in with my peers, and while I was involved in extracurricular activities, I still struggled with answering the question of, “What is my passion?” Continue reading “Getting My Feet Wet”

What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?

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Image taken from: http://howigrewtoday.com/2013/10/how-i-grew-today-19/

I heard it, I felt it, and then I took ownership of it.
The label was my enemy, and my scapegoat.

When I was in fourth grade, I was called dumb for the first time by a classmate. I was called dumb because fourth grade was the first year I was put into a reading help class. I could not read as fast or as well as the other kids. I specifically remember sitting in class one day during reading time and looking over to see the girl next to me reading Harry Potter and then looking, shamefully, back down at my Junie B. Jones book. I could not even fathom trying to read a Harry Potter book. Harry Potter looked like a dictionary compared to the books I was reading. I know it should not have, but this set the tone for me for the rest of elementary school, and even followed me through my high school career. Because of that, I always felt behind everyone else. I was always struggling to keep up, even with the extra help classes. Continue reading “What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?”

Self-Reflect to Self Direct

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Reflection is the key to growth. I find value in reflecting on past experiences because it helps me realize how far I’ve actually come. Right now, as I wrap up my third week of my first fall semester of grad school, I am able to reflect on how much I’ve grown since last fall.

A year ago, I was in my third week of my senior year, brainstorming post grad plans. I was torn between taking a gap year, going straight into grad school, going to Denver, CO; staying in Albany, NY; or going back home, to Queens, NY. I didn’t know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. This was odd for me, as someone who loves to plan and know what my next steps are. But for some reason, when it came to post-graduate plans, I just could not figure it out. I put too much pressure on myself to make decisions on things that I needed time to think about. I knew my ultimate career goal was to become a special education teacher, but I was unsure of which path I should take to get there. I was so worried about making the “wrong” decision and choosing a path I would not be happy with.

I talked through my ideas as much as possible with friends and family, however, there is one resource on campus I wish I had taken more advantage of during my senior year. I wish I went to Career and Professional Development to talk to a Peer Career Advisor, who could have helped me narrow my choices. I think I became too overwhelmed because I had too many options. I bet you’re wondering, “How can having too many options be a bad thing?” It is when you are indecisive like myself. I am indecisive in almost every aspect of my life: when it comes to figuring out what I should eat, what to wear, what to do for post grad—you name it. I was given so many options from people I knew in the teaching profession; from Teach for America, Blue Engine Teaching Apprentice, Relay Graduate School for Education, Denver Literacy Fellow, City Year, UAlbany Special Education & Literacy II Program (ding ding ding…we have a winner), Queens College, St. John’s University, NYU, and the list goes on.

I was also torn between going straight into a job that would give me teaching experience right away, versus going into a teacher preparation, graduate school program that would teach me about things like classroom management so I would be better prepared. I was always told, “Experience is your best teacher.” I was also told, “It’s best to feel as prepared as possible before jumping into anything in life.”

I think a year ago, I had enough research done to figure out what my next steps should have been but I did not take the right steps to eliminate options that were not best fit for me. I was able to see myself in every environment that I was considering. It is important to consider getting rid of ideas and options that are not the best fit for your personality, values, needs, etc. It takes a lot of self-reflection to do this and I did not get to this point until March of my senior year. I went all those months, from September to March, not sure what environment was the best fit for me.

If there is any senior who is unsure about what they want to do, or where they want to go, first realize there is no “wrong” path when you are deciding between two or more options. Then realize what your needs and desires are, and truly look into all options to see which one is best fit for you. You just have to take it a step at a time. Process of elimination and weighing pros and cons never hurt. Don’t be afraid to be selfish with your decision. This is your life you are planning for!


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories  – their voices.
Resources:
About the Author:
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Kerry D.
Class of 2017
Major: Psychology
Minors: English and Education
Blog Theme:
Pulled Back to Move Forward

Going into Freshman Year

“High school graduation day was a very exciting day at my house because I was going to be the first in my family to hold a degree achieved in America.”

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The end of Senior year of high school is a very exciting time for almost all of us. The weather is getting nicer, graduation is fast approaching, and you have chosen what college you will be attending in the fall. This was me at the end of senior year in high school. I was very relaxed. The workload was winding down quite a bit which meant more free time and more hanging out with my friends. High school graduation day was a very exciting day at my house because I was going to be the first in my family to hold a degree achieved in America. That summer, before freshman year of college, was one of the best summers I had. I got lots of travelling done and spent a lot of time with my friends before classes started. Towards the end of summer, I made a resolution to myself, that I would focus, study hard, and not procrastinate so that I could achieve exceptional grades. I thought that since I was having a very relaxed summer, I would be able to focus better once school started.

The summer flew by and before I knew it, the first day of my freshman year at the University at Albany had arrived. I looked forward to starting this new chapter of my life, but at the same time, I was very nervous since I was a new student at a huge, confusing campus. Little did I know that freshman year was going to be a year of many ups and downs. From what I have seen, freshman year of college does not go as planned for many people, and that was the case with me as well. Continue reading “Going into Freshman Year”

The First Resolution

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The whole “New Year-new me” thing that everyone makes fun of, in a way, ridicules resolutions. For the longest time I thought that resolutions were stupid too, how can you just decide to be something else when you wake up on New Year’s Day? Well, it occurred to me a while back that resolutions don’t have to mean that you change everything about yourself and become a new person overnight, which is probably why I failed at fulfilling my resolutions for many years. I have tried, too hard, to fix too many things about myself at once. I learned, through time, that resolutions can be tiny improvements that you decide to work on throughout the span of a year. It really does not have to be anything drastic at all.

Continue reading “The First Resolution”