Through this assignment, I had the opportunity to meet Kaleb, a dual enrollment student at Georgia State University. From kindergarten to eighth grade, he attended a school in California called Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy, and from there until now (senior year), he studies at Greater Atlanta Adventist Academy. He describes himself as an average high school student who gets A’s and a few B’s from time to time. However, for me, he did not seem like someone “average” since the discipline and dedication that he demonstrated during our calls showed the opposite.
For me, a dual enrollment student would not be considered average, and I must admit that I am amazed that 17-year-old Kaleb is already in college and at the same time in high school! As an international student from the Dominican Republic, I did not know what dual enrollment was until I met Kaleb. Although it is common to do this in the United States, this fact about my partner revealed certain things to me about his academic concept. First, Kaleb is already preparing for the next stage of his life, like a saying that goes “he is ready to go.” Second, he does not want to waste his time. He is confident and ready for the next stage of his life: college. This is something he learned and took from his brother, who also did dual enrollment (Lynum).
After that conversation, Kaleb taught me what the colloquial term “senioritis” means. When he told me, “I would describe myself as having senioritis,” I thought that he loved being a senior, but I was wrong. Kaleb expressed that he is ready to be done with high school, which I found utterly ironic because he is literally in college. Even though it might sound a bit contradictory to the aforementioned, Kaleb then mentioned his goals and dreams.
Among his goals and dreams is to get a degree in Biology to later become a doctor. Still, he first gave me impressions of studying something related to sports or business administration (first impressions can surely be misleading). Kaleb comes from a family of doctors. However, his reason for studying medicine is not that he feels pressured to follow the same steps as his family but rather what he clarified, “I just want to help people.” His plans for when he graduates from college include creating his own hospital, something he sees as possible due to his leadership skills (Lynum).
From this talk about dreams and goals, I learned many things that helped me realize that I can learn so much from my classmates. In the interview, Kaleb described himself as having a growth mindset and as being a resourceful student. When I asked him what he does when he feels like he is not good at a subject, he said that he “communicates with his professors, and he goes to YouTube and teaches himself if he needs to.” What Kaleb told me connects to one of Dr. Stephen Chew’s videos, “Beliefs That Make You Fail or Succeed,” where Dr. Chew explained that “academic success is more a matter of hard work than an inborn talent.” Kaleb totally agrees with Dr. Stephen Chew and lives by this concept. When facing a challenge, students should have a similar approach since successfulness does not come from natural talent but from hard work and perseverance.
Lynum, Kaleb. Interview. Conducted by Solanlly Rijo, 30-31 January 2021.
Chew, Stephen. “Beliefs That Make You Fail or Succeed,” YouTube, uploaded by Samford University, 16 August 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH95h36NChI.