Academic Strengths Essay

During class, we took Gallup’s strengths finder assessment to help us better understand ourselves, develop a language to be able to talk about our strengths, and work better with others who have the same or different strengths. My top strength was Restorative, which essentially means that I strive to always be improving.  I work hard to fix problems and inefficiencies in myself and in others and try my best to find solutions to problems I encounter.  My next strength was Analytical, which means that I am very good at breaking complex topics or situations down in a methodical way, prioritizing important information over less important things, and thinking problems through to come up with a good solution.  My third strength was Consistency, which means that I try to treat everyone and everything equally, and I approach problems by taking them apart into simpler pieces.  My fourth strength was Relator, which usually has to do with forming and seeking relationships with others, but in my case is more about seeing patterns and connections in data and ideas, consequences of different actions, and cause and effect relationships.  My final strength was Input, which means that I am constantly gathering information and learning, taking ideas apart to understand and appreciate them and weighing facts to make decisions.  Many of these strengths have similar concepts or work together very closely; for example, most of my strengths have to do with solving problems and fixing things by simplifying them and breaking them into smaller parts and dealing with them in a methodical way.  My strengths did not really come as a surprise to me; I knew that these were things I excel at naturally and usually do well in, but taking the test helped me to see them in a new way and really highlighted how they play into my everyday life.

     My strengths play a big role in my everyday life.  They have a very large influence on the way I think and approach problems.  For example, I am a huge list-maker.  To Do lists, Homework lists, and other types of lists help me stay organized and on top of everything I have to get done.  Academically, I tend to do best in subjects that are concept-based because breaking complex topics down to simple terms is one of my strengths.  This also allows me to be very effective at helping other people understand these subjects better.  Another area in which my strengths show is in my cooking and baking.  I love looking through books and finding new recipes, and following the step-by-step methods for cooking is really relaxing for me.  Though I have been doing things and thinking this way my whole life, before learning about these strengths I never really thought about them as anything more significant than facets of my personality.  But now that I can pick out these examples and see the ways that they help me currently, I have started thinking more about my strengths in relation to my future.

     I am going to be a doctor.  I am not sure what my specialization will be, and I am not sure in what setting I want to work, but I am completely certain I want to practice medicine.  In the strengths report, in the application section for 3 of my 5 top strengths, medicine or medical research were recommended careers.  This affirmation that I am well-suited for my chosen profession was a really good thing to be able to hear now, as a first-year undergraduate, when I am so far away from my goals.  While my career goals are very much long term goals, my academic goals which include acceptance to my first choices of medical schools, maintenance of good grades, performing research in a lab, and fulfilling volunteer work are more short term.  My personal goals are much simpler.  I want to be the kind of person who lives by my values, the kind of doctor who knows what she is talking about, and I want to make the world a better place.  Knowing my strengths will help me achieve these goals more easily because building a successful future is much easier if I know the tools I have to work with.

     With this knowledge of my top strengths, I can plan for the future more strategically and achieve my goals.  For example, I know my one of my strengths is the ability to plan and prioritize, so I am starting to work on a lot of the research I will need to choose a medical school now, to be more prepared when the time comes to actually apply.  Another of my strengths is prioritizing, and this helps me a lot in my day-to-day life as a student with managing my busy schedule.  Good decision-making after I weigh all of the facts is another one of my strengths, and it will help me in a lot of areas, from making personal life choices to knowing the best way to treat a patient.  I know that my strength of treating others with fairness and equality will help me in all areas my life, because making everyone feel equal and respected is important to being a good doctor and those are some of the values I believe in very strongly.

     Knowing about my strengths and being able to use appropriate language to talk about them already is helping, and in the future will continue to help me reach my goals.  Tools like the Strengths Finder test are very useful because they make people more aware of all of their talents that have developed into strengths that they may not have been conscious of previously.  They make people more effective in their daily lives and in their work.  Knowledge of diverse strengths and talents is also very useful for building effective teams and helping those teams work well together.  The Strengths Finder test and the knowledge of my strengths was a really helpful tool that is going to help make my goals more achievable and me be more effective as a person.

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Strength is defined as “the quality or state of being physically strong,” “the ability to resist being moved or broken by force,” and “the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way.” (Merriam-Webster). In my opinion this definition sufficiently encompasses the meaning of strength. However, I would also include in this definition, that strength is a feature that sets individuals apart from each other. A person’s strengths make them unique and valuable.

My top five strengths (as determined by Gallup Strengths finder) are Restorative, Context, Analytical, Deliberative, and Learner. Restorative can be defined as problem solving. A restorative person enjoys breaking down issues and solving them step-by-step. Context can be described as looking to past results for answers to current issues. Someone who is contextual learns from the mistakes of history so that those mistakes may not be repeated. Analytical strength is the ability to break down and analyze a situation. An analytical person finds answers in deep contemplation and study. Deliberative can be defined as careful and reserved. A deliberative person is not likely to take risks unless all negative and positive consequences have been taken into account. Learner can be described as the love of knowledge. Someone who enjoys learning accepts that they do not have all the answers and therefore must continue seeking out answers to problems.

My strengths are oriented toward education and learning. Therefore they will play a strong role in my current life of academics. My ability to analyze, study, find answers will be beneficial to my college career and hopefully result in a high amount of success. My strengths are not, however, restricted to an academic environment. They will hopefully play a beneficial role in my future career as problem solving and analyzing issues are crucial qualities for successful members of the workplace. Knowing my strengths enforces my decision to continue my academic studies beyond college. Knowing my ability to analyze and find solutions compliments my future goals of a higher degree of education and achievement.

In the future, I may utilize my restorative strength by solving a complex problem imposed by my future workplace by breaking the problem down, and solving it step by step. I may utilize my contextual strength in the future by looking back on past failures that I might have made. These failures could occur in college or the workplace, however my contextual strength will prevent the same mistakes from occurring twice. I may utilize my analytical strength in my future by analyzing my issues so that I may find the best possible solutions. I may utilize my deliberative strength by remaining reserved in my actions, and not taking chances, which could result in fewer failures. I may utilize my strength of learning by continuing my education throughout my life. This could happen in the form of graduate degrees or professional studies.

My aforementioned strengths are unique to my personality and my character. They define me as an individual who is proficient at learning, analyzing, and problem solving. It is my hope that these strengths will continue to benefit me throughout my college career, and then eventually support me as an effective and productive member of society.

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