So time for my introduction. I’m Nathan, former failing student turned…well I’m not really sure what I would class myself as right now!
Right now I’m a man with many many plates spinning, but ultimately what I want to be able to class myself as is one of the very first people to completely transform how student wellbeing and personal growth is managed and supported when either at college or university. That’s my vision.
It’s a time in your life where stress is high, expectation even higher and the pressure a lot of the time seems simply unmanageable! This was definitely my experience when I naively thought that after doing a BTEC in Sports Science at college was good preparation for starting an Engineering degree. I can confirm…it was not.
But…before we get into all of that…a little more about me.
I’m extremely outgoing, active and quite frankly sometimes way over the top with my progression. I struggle to sit still and if I am not making progress can feel like I’m going backwards. Now with a little more self awareness in my more recent life I have realised that this is a pretty toxic trait and an area I am working on massively! However, other than that I am pretty laid back, easy going and I have got to a point in my life now where I truly want to make a difference in the world rather than just climbing the corporate ladder…as fun as that still is!
So back to my time at University.
I decided to trade Sports Science for engineering simply because I thought I could earn more money doing so…pretty fickle and what I now understand to be an extrinsic motivator…exactly not what type of motivation your need to get you through four years of wat soon turned out to be a whole lot of pain!
So…I arrive at uni for my first day, happy as larry in my head that its the first day towards my dream of becoming an engineer and earning loads of money. Then I take a seat in my first class, the lecturer introduces the class and then she puts the first equation on the white board. It was at that moment I realised I had majorly f&%cked up! Now this wasn’t even any form of complex equation, this was basic BODMAS which the majority grew to know and love at…school. Imagine sitting in your first class at university, seeing something on the board that you last “learned” at school and not having a clue what is going on. Not my greatest moment and it most certainly set off many of the following thoughts…
- lol…you absoloute idiot, why did you think that you could get an engineering degree.
- Quit now…like right now, and save yourself the potential five years of humiliation that you have ahead of you.
- Maybe you can scrape through and just about pass…but only maybe if your really lucky.
As you can see from the above, not the greatest start on my own academic journey and most definitely not the mindset you want to be going into a pretty significant and stressful portion of your life!
So, lets start with the first couple of years of University for me…this is where I was absolutely your typical student and I was fulfilling all of those above statements about how I was never going to amount to anything. I spent the majority of my time in a negative mindset, barely passing exams, copying most of the coursework from my peers and generally just about scraping through. Obviously at this time as well, my only area of “personal growth” that I worked on was going out as much as possible, getting lashed and then having a killer hangover the next day.
This cycle continued until I hit rock bottom and had to get a concession to be put through to the next year. 39% just about got me through. Because this happened it forced me to reflect and acknowledge that I was the problem and that if I carried on I was just going to become another student, half decent 2:2 degree in hand…with a mountain of student debt and very little in the form of “employability”.
Things had to change! And it is exactly here that I started searching for a solution.
I knew I could do better and rather than just wallowing in self pity I had to go and seek the solutions that I knew must be out there as there were plenty of other people in the world that succeed. What was their secret sauce? It was upon this reflection that I discovered the power of planning.
Before my next year at university I made a commitment with myself that this would be the year where I sort my s%&t out and accept only the best from myself. And by using a planning framework this would allow me to get purposeful and automated with everything I did. Essentially it would allow me to clearly identify the level of work required to truly thrive to my full potential. All whilst ensuring I made ample time for my wellbeing and health still.
The difference that I saw was immediate and profound. It is as if the whole world became clearer and I became smarter overnight. Maybe, just maybe I actually can pass this course and not just scrape and average grade.
The lights had finally turned on!
This year was transformational to my study journey. I quickly transitioned from a bit of a joke in my class to being one of the more well regarded students among my peers and my lecturers. And this was only step one.
After discovering planning and putting it to great effect, taking the best planning techniques from various frameworks and thought leaders I then added some of my own sauce to it. Personal Growth.
Looking for a beginners guide to student personal growth? Check out our latest Ebook here 🎯
This addition came a little later, however the effect again was incredible. The addition of personal growth to the planning framework that I had put together took me to a whole new level and actually quickly catapulted me to being in the top 5% of the class. One of the key messages here though is, that I managed to get in the top 5% but I honestly would say I probably wasn’t even in the top 20% for how “smart” I was. This is the part where personal growth can completely change your academic life. It’s a skill that is not taught, no where near any curriculum and very rarely talked about if I’m honest. But there is no other skill that will help to set you apart, just like it did for me. With a combination of goal setting, regular reflections and regular work on a variety of different personal growth areas I really did begin to thrive and succeed to my full potential. Adding the planning into the mix and creating a personal growth framework centred around planning I completely transformed myself into what I should have always been…I unlocked the true potential of me.
Three years previous I was scraping through my next year on 39% with a concession from the Dean. Now I was walking out of my university with a first class honours in hand and multiple offers for some of the largest companies in the UK.
Absolutely mental when you think about it really as all this took was a wake up call and then a mindset shift. The potential was always in there waiting to come out.
So this brings me to now. Following on from university I continued to adapt and perfect a framework of planning and personal growth. I used a range of different planners to great effect and they along with being committed to my personal growth have kept me on an extremely steep trajectory of growth as an engineer. However, recently when talking with one of my best friends who was working in the area of Personal Growth (none other than Joe!) we discussed the potential to share these incredible benefits and how we could do it. We reflected on all the potential options and it was actually when we came to students and thought about our own journeys that we realised how underrepresented this area was. Shockingly underrepresented!
Most personal growth and wellbeing frameworks, services or whatever else you want to call them typically focus on helping someone once they have failed, or supporting someone once they have reached crisis. Now this is essentially what I did for myself when I finally had the wake up call, but what we are talking about with Semester now is to provide this from the very start.
Forget about failing or getting to a point of crisis before doing anything. Start working on yourself immediately with a framework that is proven to work, has proven techniques throughout it and has testimonial from fellow students who did it the hard way!
We are now here to offer you that same key to unlocking your full potential. I feel like I am testament that even if you are on the brink of quitting or don’t feel like you are smart enough for the course you are on…you can absolutely change the playbook and finish your academic journey as a whole different and much better person.
I am extremely excited to see your transformations this year and to begin building the Semester community. Hopefully together we can put a stop to the continuing decline of student wellbeing.