This year, Grove City College had several students take the CliftonStrengths assessment for free as part of a grant the college was awarded in order to foster a deeper exploration of calling and vocation for the students. The program development grant is from the Council of Independent Colleges, specifically their Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education. This assessment endeavors to provide students with a common language of talents and strengths and attempts to promote a culture where students thrive both inside the classroom here at Grove City College, and in the outside world. One of those students that took the CliftonStrengths Assessment is senior Kristen Bishop, who is pursuing a Communications Studies major, with a Biblical and Religious Studies minor. Kristen’s top five strengths from the assessment include: communication, activator, ideation, woo, and strategic.
I asked Kristen how the CliftonStrengths assessment has shaped her understanding of calling and vocation, and she said, “It has helped me understand gifts that I have been given and how to embrace them and use them well. Instead of trying to fit a mold I now understand I should look for a job that I am already gifted at so that I can help a company, organization, or non-profit do well and grow.” I also asked Kristen how learning her results has helped her in her academics and she said the results have helped her to understand why school has always been a struggle for her, and how she can learn best and adapt her learning style and study habits to aid herself in the best way possible.
I also discussed with her how learning her results have helped her in different leadership roles. She said the results allow her to focus in on the gifts she has and help her to better understand her leadership roles. She said, “I understand that I love to get things started right away, communicate plans of action, create new ideas and ways of getting jobs done, and working with others.”
I asked about how her results have helped her in different relationships with others both on and off campus, she said, “Being aware of my strengths has helped me be aware of how I go about problems or issues, but also learning about other’s strengths has helped me understand that there might be miscommunication because we are coming from different points of view.” Kristen said her results help her most in a job setting when it comes to how well she works with others. She said it also encourages her to learn more about her leadership style and how she learns best.
I inquired if she has noticed any significant changes in her daily life since learning her results from the CliftonStrengths Assessment, and she said, “I do practices to help me grow in my strengths. For example, with ideation, I have an idea book and write down all my ideas so that I can sort through them and actually work on them!” Kristen said the best take away she has gained since taking this assessment is learning that you grow more when focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. She said, “Instead of trying to fit into a job you aren’t gifted in, look for a career your natural gifts lead you to. You’ll then be able to help more in the job and feel more fulfilled.”
Kristen plans to work with the Young Life Field Staff when she leaves Grove City College. Here on campus she is involved with the Gamma Sigma Phi sorority and she is a Young Life Leader.