Last week I received my grade for the administration course I took over the summer. I got an A. While an A may not be a big deal for some, for me it’s a huge accomplishment. As a matter of fact, I have gotten all A’s since I re enrolled in college a year ago.
My previous college experience was filled with learning, but most of the learning came in the form of “life experiences”. Although I wanted to be successful at college, I never was. As I look back at college grades I wish I knew now what I didn’t know then. The truth is I didn’t know how to be a good student. It would be easy for me to blame a number of other things on my lack luster grades, but I won’t. Not until recently did I realize the value of truly learning the information I was studying. Getting an A in class is more than a grade. It’s a reflection of effort and with that effort comes learning.
Being hard of hearing had an influence on my college experience. Lecture classes weren’t a good fit for me. When required to sit in a class and listen to a lecture my focus was on making sure I heard the information correctly. Sadly, often I didn’t. I often heard things incorrectly or not at all. Getting hearing aids in college was helpful, but still it was a struggle.
I became successful with my career despite having mediocre grades in college. I worked hard and took a hands on approach to learning. My system worked for many years. However, when I returned to work, after being home for many years, one thing that changed in my field was each time you apply for a job you must supply a copy of your college transcripts. Years ago this wasn’t the case. Back then I provided employers a copy of my resume and references, but never transcripts.
Handing over my transcripts from a college has always been uncomfortable The grades from years ago don’t represent the person I am today. When I applied for my most recent job I did something I’ve never done before. I handed over two sets of transcripts. One set reflected the student I was thirty years ago and the other reflected the student I am today. I told my new employer I am not the young college student from 30 years ago. I shared what I’ve learned over the years, my values, and what I had to offer. I told them the second set of transcripts reflects the person I am today, a person who is capable of being a strong student.
My approach worked. I got the job. The way a person looks on paper doesn’t always reflect who the person really is. I knew I had things to offer an employer, but a piece of paper reflected otherwise.
Now I have a new piece of paper that reflects something different…my willingness to learn new things, continue to grow and to try again.