Student of the Month: Jacob Gernetzke
The road to accomplishing your goals can sometimes be a bumpy one. While you’ll have plenty of successes to celebrate along the way, you should also be prepared to push through your fair share of challenges. Take Guild student Jacob Gernetzke, for example. A self-taught mechanic since high school, Jacob realized that he’s a good leader and enjoys teaching people — and because of that realization, he decided to pursue management as the next step in his career. In order to advance from his job as a truck mechanic into a management position, Jacob did something he’d never done before: went to college.
Through his employer’s education benefits with Guild, Jacob is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in business management and leadership, and he’s only paying $1/day for his schooling. Plus, since starting his degree program, he’s already moved into a new management position with his company! This promotion didn’t happen overnight, though. In order to be eligible for a new position, Jacob was required to take an internal assessment, and although he put serious time and effort into preparing for it, he failed the test twice. Still, he persevered and worked to learn and develop the skills he needed to eventually pass the assessment.
Jacob didn’t let his failures prevent him from achieving his goals. He dedicated himself to studying and re-taking the test until his hard work paid off. Check out his tips on how to keep going when things get tough!
Tip #1: Establish Goals
Setting specific goals to work toward is an important part of succeeding in school and advancing your career. When you’re feeling discouraged, being able to point to the tangible steps you’re taking to meet your goals can help motivate you to keep going. “For me,” Jacob said, “it was a lot about having goals. It’s not about how long it takes. The time is going to pass anyway. If it’s really a goal for you, and you want to work towards it, get started.”
Tip #2: Take One Step at a Time
Jacob encourages students to start small when getting back into school. Rather than trying to push through school quickly, which can sometimes lead to failure and frustration, he focuses on taking things at his own pace. “Being in school has shown me that little steps will get you there over time,” he reflected. “If you had asked me when I started this whole thing if I thought a year into this I could be maintaining a 4.0, I would’ve thought you were crazy because from someone who struggled to graduate high school, that’s not going to be possible. But if you can just focus enough to do the little things you can do every week, you’ll succeed in the long run.”
Tip #3: Take Action to Improve
Rather than getting discouraged and quitting after failing his assessment twice, Jacob identified specific areas where he knew he could do better, and then he worked to improve in those areas. “The big question for me,” he said, “was, ‘What do I answer differently? What do I change?’ I just kept working on it. I kept working with my mentor on different things, reading books, whatever I could do.”
Tip #4: Find a Mentor
If you’re trying to meet a goal and repeatedly missing the mark, it may be helpful to call in backup. After struggling to pass his assessment, Jacob took the initiative to seek out help. He approached his company’s HR manager and told them about his situation, and they set him up with a mentor who helped him study for the test and practice the skills he was lacking. If your employer doesn’t have a mentorship program, don’t worry! You can talk to your Student Success Advisor — they’ll be happy to help you meet your education goals and encourage you throughout the process.
Tip #5: Be Patient
It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey looks different. Maybe your education experience has been a slow and steady race to the finish line — and that’s okay! Be patient with yourself, keep giving it your best effort, and remember Jacob’s story when you need some extra encouragement: “This is what I wanted,” he said. “I knew it might not happen right away. And I think that’s the thing to keep in mind, that sometimes things take time. And I think with perseverance, it’s just about knowing that it’s going to happen at some point if you put the work into it and hanging on until something happens, until something changes, until you do something different.”
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