By Naomi Gluck, College Coach, 2020-21
Working with 87 unique students comes with a lot of information to track. Each student has his or her own challenges, successes and life experiences. Because of the large caseload, I often spend most of my time focusing on the struggles students are facing, the challenges that can seem insurmountable and the problems that need solving.
Part of my growth as a coach has been helping students work through their challenges, but also intentionally focusing on the good that is happening – the successes students achieve, the joy they encounter and create, and the wins they earn. Because even during this crazy, challenging, terrible year, students are pushing forward and working hard to achieve their goals.
I’d like to use this space to celebrate my students and the successes that are often ignored when fixating on the challenges.
There’s Kristy – a freshman at Daley College who is so on top of her work and her goals that she has already started planning for her transfer to a four-year institution in a year and a half. We have calls together where she comes eager to learn, full of questions and curiosity. She wants to teach elementary school one day, and I know she’s going to be an amazing teacher.
There’s also Serena – a freshman at Columbia College who responds every single time I reach out. This is no small feat – we all miss a message or forget to return a call sometimes. I’ve told her multiple times that this reliability is a skill that her professors and future employers are going to value so much.
There’s Daniel – a sophomore at Northern Illinois University, who had an extremely difficult fall semester due to the pandemic. Despite the challenges, he continues to show an enthusiasm for learning and earning his college degree that motivates me every time we chat. We work together to figure out how to help him feel confident and achieve his goals.
There’s also Maya – a sophomore at Columbia College who is unsure of what her future career goals are, but is putting in the work to figure it out. We’ve had many conversations about her intended major and ways she can realize her passions and interests. I’ve helped connect her to her adviser and campus career center, both of which have helped her feel less overwhelmed and more confident with her career choices.
These are just four examples of the amazing students I support. In fact, all 87 of them are amazing in their own ways. It’s been a privilege to see their growth and celebrate their successes this past year.