Clettis Stephens: Academic Profile

Picture of Clettis Stephens

Selfie of Clettis Stephens

An adage that we all have likely heard before goes: “patience is a virtue”, which truly fits Clettis Stephens. Along with using the Japanese proverb: “fall seven times and stand up eight” (Reynolds, 2011) to describe him, I have the pleasure of introducing our resilient classmate Clettis Stephens who recently allowed me the opportunity to view his stance on his academic self. Through learning more about him, I came to find that he can be a bit too critical towards himself, but this has only served to keep him humble and motivated as he strives to achieve a personal goal whilst refusing to give up for his own and his family’s sakes. Currently in his third semester at GSU majoring in computer science, he has shown he is a persistent individual who treads carefully due to an ongoing fear of failure. This fear, though, serves as a driving force to try his hardest in his third attempt at receiving a college degree.

Clettis comes from “an area where a majority of my family members did not make it to college”. He expanded on that statement by adding “I’m not sure most of them made it out of high school”. Given this explanation, it’s understandable why he carries this fear of failure as it is apparent that he doesn’t want to simply be a statistic along with that majority of his family members he mentioned. With this kind of environment as a foundation in mind, his self-reflected description of his academic self was: nervous, pessimistic, and overworking. However, now at a point in life where he has his own family (a wife and three children), Clettis has made yet another attempt to ensure he has a different outcome from the setting he grew up around despite carrying a negative outlook on his academic self.

In citing his biggest influence on his academic self being his fear of failure, Clettis referred to previous college attempts by saying “I tend to deal with thinking I will have to retake classes halfway through the semester due to not receiving the grades that I would like to have”. However, a fear of failure is not Clettis’ only influence on his academic self. He also cited his wife and kids as also being his largest influence as “they motivate me to do better at everything I do”. During my opportunity to pick his brain I came to realize that while Clettis is rather negative towards himself in self-reflection, his wife and children serve as an even bigger inspiration for him that supersedes his own fears and self-description evidenced by the fact that he has returned to school now three times. He endeavors to be a father who shows his children that nothing is impossible, and that they “can do any and everything you put your mind to as long as you put the work in”.

Despite now having his own family to care for, Clettis has given college education another shot in becoming a career corporate systems analyst showing that nothing in life really is ever “too late”. My advice to Clettis is to continue trying your best to organize your time help make you successful, for as Dr. Chew of Samford University states, “You have to commit the time and hard work necessary to succeed” followed by his advice, “You have to recognize that the time you have will limit your likelihood of success” (Samford University, 2011). Clettis has likely accomplished more in his personal life than many of his fellow students at GSU (with many personal/ professional high and low points), but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to complete a degree from a college institution. I found myself relating a lot to Clettis’ self-description, but ultimately felt that he should give himself more credit. I enjoyed my chance to get to know Clettis, and would really enjoy if he gave me more opportunity to learn from him in the future to further develop my own academic self.





Reynolds, G. (2011, March 24). Fall down seven times, get Up eight: The power of japanese resilience. Retrieved February 05, 2021, from

Samford University. (2011, August 16). How to Get the Most Out of Studying: Part 1 of 5, “Beliefs That Make You Fail… Or Succeed” [Video]. Youtube. Retrieved February 05, 2021, from


One thought on “Clettis Stephens: Academic Profile

  1. Clettis, you are brilliant, amazing, determined, and successful. Always tell yourself these things and you will see positive things around you start to happen. Always believe in yourself because you are the change you can expect to see in yourself and your life. Some questions I have are about the parents and siblings of Clettis’. Did your parents support you in your need and want for a higher education? Did you have any resources where you’re from to help you get to college? What was the moment, if you can remember, where you told yourself “I need to get a college education.” I love reading about success stories from the people who weren’t expected to succeed. The transcendant people are always the ones that touch my heart the most because I too am one of those people.

    – Jaclyn

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