Influenced by her grandmother, an aspiring immigration lawyer improves her GRIT

Alexis Kulick at Texas state capital

“My grandparents emigrated here from Mexico. My grandmother is probably the biggest example I have in my life for GRIT[1], because she fought so hard. It took tenacity for her to get here, because my grandfather had no desire to come here at all. And in the 1960s in Mexico, you didn’t really talk back to your husband. But my grandmother said, ‘This is what needs to happen. This is the best for our family and our future.’ She worked really hard to get here, and I think that is why I want to give more immigrants a chance,” explained Alexis Kulik, an aspiring immigration lawyer and communication studies student at Lone Star College in Tomball, Texas (LSC–Tomball)

During her first year at LSC–Tomball, Alexis took a Student Success course to fine-tune the skills that she would need to thrive in college. The course was part of a pilot program, developed by the college, Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D., an authority on GRIT, and Pearson, to infuse GRIT into select courses.

In the beginning of the course, Alexis took the GRIT GaugeTM assessment. She found it helpful because it pinpointed areas for improvement. “Sometimes it’s hard to pick out your own weaknesses,” she explained.

After students took  the assessment, Alexis’s professor assigned readings in Stolz’s book, GRIT: The New Science of What it Takes to Persevere, Flourish, Succeed, and journal reflections on topics such as instances when students showed good GRIT and areas of their lives where students would benefit from showing GRIT.

The assignments helped Alexis understand the importance of good GRIT. So although she would like to develop more tenacity, she knows that she needs to be smart about it. “There are good ways to go about it, and there are less effective ways to go about it,” she explained. “You can study a ton and be up all night exhausting yourself. But there will be a point where it no longer matters because you’re too tired to actually remember anything.”

GRIT is a great tool to help you succeed academically, socially, and personally.

 

Because Lone Star College –Tomball was piloting a GRIT initiative across several courses, Alexis also encountered GRIT in her English, Spanish, and history classes. “It was really nice hearing about GRIT in dramatic historical figures and amazing literature and being surrounded by it,” she explained.

GRIT has helped Alexis succeed in her academics and in her extracurricular activities. She is the president of the Honors College Student Organization and a participant in the Lone Star College National Model United Nations (NMUN) program. She credits GRIT with giving her “the upper hand” at the 2016 NMUN Conference in New York. “My partner and I had an understanding of our own weaknesses, each other’s weaknesses, and how to go about working with others because we knew ourselves so well,” she explained. This self-knowledge helped the Lone Star team secure an “Outstanding Delegation” award at the event.

 

[1] GRIT stands for growth, resilience, instinct, and tenacity. It also includes robustness, which is the ability of individuals to understand their personal resource levels and capacities and make good decisions on how to deploy them strategically and effectively.