An ALC Graduate Shares his Story

September 23, 2015 by John Andrew Williams

fixed v growth mindset

Brandon Graf was not a victim of circumstances or a poor education system. He came from a good family and went to school in a good school district. He has one sibling, who is less than two years younger than him, who went to the same school and grew up in the same home, and she has done extremely well.

For Brandon, school just wasn’t congruent with his learning style. He was a poor student and got himself into a lot of trouble as a kid. He had problems following the rules and keeping in line. He always dealt with a ton of stress about his lack of success in school, and a lot of anxiety built up about where he would fit into the world with his seemingly inability to follow the same steps as everyone else. It seemed as though he just did not have the skills that were so incredibly important to success.

He made it through high school, and eventually college, where he graduated with a degree in Psychology from Penn State. He wanted to help kids who were like him, who didn’t necessarily fit into the same structures that work for everyone else. The journey to that goal was one he never could have imaged at the start.

He started off as a case worker in Rochester, working with “at risk” teens who were on juvenile probation, in an after-school program. He enjoyed being able to mentor, coach, and counsel kids who went through some of the same things that he did when he was younger. He taught life skills and anger management and supervised and participated in recreational activities and community service obligations. However, there still seemed to be a level with the kids that remained out of reach.

He felt great about being a responsible role model and being able to provide the attention that the teens seemed to need. But he could not help but think about what would happen to the kids a year or two after they completed the program. Sometimes they would end up back on probation right after they were discharged, and this was troubling.

Brandon came across an article about the founder of Academic Life Coaching, John Andrew Williams, and noticed that John was experiencing the same limits with the kids in his high school latin class that he himself was dealing with. The article discussed how John began to use coaching techniques in the classroom and that they worked. Brandon thought the article was interesting, and he filed it away.

Around this time, he decided to go back to school for Clinical Mental Health. He decided to enroll in an online school so that he could travel and continue to do more with youth. It was a transformative experience. He visited 30 countries and turned his own life around. He went from being a kid who barely graduated high school to a man who finished graduate school with a 4.0.

He had a lot of help from his family, mentors, and coaches along the way. He is currently working on becoming a licensed counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. He mostly works with adults, but his ultimate goal has always been to work with the kinds of kids he worked with at the after-school program. Last year, he remembered the article he had found about Academic Life Coaching and looked it up again. As he reread the article, he really began to think that John Andrew Williams was on to something.

Brandon took the ALC 1.0 training and has recently become a Certified Academic Life Coach. He now has the opportunity to help students all over the U.S. and abroad find their passion for learning. He gets to help them become aware of their own learning styles and how they can accomplish the things they want to accomplish. He has the opportunity to help them get organized and motivated, find their own learning styles, and reduce the stress and anxiety they feel about school and the future. He can’t go back in time and tell himself how to try things differently. However, he loves being able to work with kids who were a lot like him and help them to overcome the challenges he had along the way.

If you want to learn more about Brandon Graf, check out his website.

Also read: SOLEs, The School in the Cloud, and the Future of Education

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