As a Student: Good GPA, but what else?
I went to St.Lawrence College for the Computer Programmer Analyst advanced diploma program in 2018. As an international student, surviving winter in Canada and surviving school became my goals in my first year.
School is going well after I figured out how the system works. Now I can focus on preparing for the work placement program in our last two semesters.
It didn’t take me long to realized that GPA is not the key selling point in community college. You might think it’s just people from all walks of life getting an education.
However, what people are actually doing is upgrading their career path in a short three years. They did all this on top of a full-time job or a family to take care of, maybe both! Their time management skills are impressive, not to mention the work experiences they have.
So, what else can I bring to the table besides GPA?
Trying to become a team lead at McDonald’s was not an option at that time. That’s when I started self-learning, as I mentioned in the previous post.
That part shows my willingness to learn and being a resourceful learner. My question now becomes: What other soft skill can I acquire?
Since my schedule doesn’t allow me to become a team lead at McDonald’s, I thought I would gain my mentorship and customer experience by becoming a tutor and a cashier.
|Timeline||What I did|
|Before||Getting good grades is the top priority as a student in my culture.|
|09/2018||Enrolled in Computer Programmer Analyst advanced diploma program at St.Lawrence College. Realized I am in a different system.|
|Started self-learning, as mentioned in the previous post, to become a better developer.|
|09/2019||Became a tutor (not allowed until you are in your second year).|
|02/2020||Worked as a cashier at Wholesale Club as soon as my schedule allows.|
|04/2020||Got an internship at Queen’s University, working full-stack on a E-learning platform|
Skills I gained from my tutor experience👩🏫
- Balancing school and work
- Maintain a GPA of 3.9 while working with up to 6 students every semester.
- Manage a tutoring schedule that works for both tutor and tutee.
- Mentoring students who have less experience than me
- Explain things in a different way when the previous one doesn’t work.
- Only help them enough to keep them going.
- Ask questions to make sure students truly understand the concept.
- Walkthrough project requirements before coding.
Skills I gained from my cashier experience💰
- Observe and optimize the current system:
- Shorten cleaning time without lowering the standard.
- Create a better customer experience:
- Greet customers in a welcoming manner.
- Always have boxes in different sizes for customers on my station.
- Help customers with bagging.
- Connect clerks with customers who needed help with loading products.
- Become a better team member:
- Memorize product codes for a better checkout experience.
- Work as a clerk during downtime.
- Help colleagues with cleaning.
- Take notes to avoid asking repetitive questions.
- Always double check when I am not sure.