I recently took a walk around Lake Merritt with a former academic coaching client. What sweetness! One of the things I adore about my work as an academic/life coach for teenagers is that I get to build strong connections & collaborations with young people. And those connections don’t usually die when the client/coach relationship ends.
This young woman and I walked and talked — about friendships, dating, love, and of course, life as a college freshman.
Multiple Choice, F’s, and Advocacy
Turns out that she made mostly As and Bs in her first semester of college — but also one F. I asked her to tell me more about this F (which happened to be in her favorite subject, one out of which she wants to build a career. Extra odd to get an F).
Turns out the teacher gave only multiple choice tests, and this young woman has a learning disability that makes multiple choice tests especially difficult. I’m simply amazed that her college allowed her to fail out of a course that didn’t provide an alternative assessment strategy for someone clearly diagnosed with a learning difference.
Luckily, this young woman understands the value of relationships and networking. She is not shy to stand up for herself and ask for what she needs. She said she will — and I’m hoping she follows through — petition to write a paper as an alternative assessment. She understands the content, after all, but just can’t identify the information when it’s worded in a multiple choice format. (Those classes she got As and B’s in? Yep, you guessed it, the class grades were based on essays and in-class discussion).
I’m thrilled to see this former client continue to practice her self advocacy skills. I’m also thrilled at how this kind of client/coach relationship is not simply a one way street; mutuality is the name of the game in my work.
When There’s Too Much Good Stuff
As I walked to meet her at Cafe 504, I was feeling overwhelmed with the “too muchness” of my life. Too many close friends, too much interesting work, too many requests for my time (all of which I want to say “Yes!!” to).
The question at the forefront of my mind was: what do I do with MuseCubes?! I love the product, I love the IDEA of building it into a successful business, but I really don’t like the ADMIN WORK necessary to build the business. On the other hand, I love my academic coaching relationships, and I want MORE of those. I don’t have time to build BOTH business. But do I want to let the MuseCubes go? No!!!!!! Maybe?!?! I don’t know!!!!!!
I was thinking about this question as my young friend was telling me about taking that 90 question multiple choice final exam. “I tried everything!” she said. “I even tried your MuseCubes thing, shaking myself and yelling. But I just didn’t recognize any of the answer to the questions.”
Ahhhhhh, this is exactly what I needed to hear. “I even tried your MuseCubes thing.”
Of course, in her situation, the MuseCubes didn’t help her find the answers. But they gave her a concrete idea for something productive to DO when she was feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and at her wits end.
Just when I start questioning the value of some of my work, I get a little message from an angel saying: “MuseCubes are worthwhile! My life is better because of it.”
I immediately felt less stressed about making a decision about the business side of MuseCubes. I suddenly felt TRUST that I will find the exact best way to build this business and maintain my own life balance. It might mean I need to take a little break to reground myself. It might mean the business takes a different form than I expected. But I needn’t fear that I’ll have to abandon my baby in order to reground myself again.
My former client and I hugged each other goodbye at the end of the walk. “I love talking to you,” she said. “I always learn so much from you.”
“I love talking to you, too!” I answered, while thinking “I always learn so much from you, too.”