Shawn Phelan, Graduate and Alpha Sigma Lambda MemberAug 21st, 2012 | By richterh | Category: ALUMNI, LEAD STORY
When I was a young child, I struggled with school. My parents were told I had a learning disability, so they took the school’s advice and gave me the extra help that they thought that I needed. Later, this was a decision that my parents would regret. My parents tried their hardest for me to improve my grades with after school learning activities, summer tutoring, sylvan learning center and all of the help the school offered; but none of the help that I received improved my grades. By the time I was in High School, my grades had suffered greatly. The grades I was receiving were C’s and D’s, with the occasional B. My freshman year, I was not paying attention in school because I was more interested in getting into trouble. My parents pulled me out of the public schools and put me into a private Baptist school. The first year was a culture shock for me at the school, but I soon learned to adapt to the smaller classrooms. I was able to pull my grades up to B’s and C’s. I was finally eligible to play sports again. I graduated high school receiving B’s and C’s. My crowning achievement in High School was perfect attendance my senior year.
After high school I went to Joliet Junior College. Joliet Junior College was a large school with lots of students in each class. This type of class was not compatible with my style of learning. I struggled with math. I took algebra three times before I was able to pass the class. My wife was the one who ended up working with me every day until I was able to pass the class. After ten years of working and going to Joliet Junior College. I was able to graduate with B honors. This was something that I was so proud of because I never had received B honors.
In 2004, I started working at Andrew Corporation which is now Commscope Corporation. I started working on the floor as a machine operator. My first year on the job, I was not a very good employee. I made many mistakes. I was a 21-year-old kid working at his first real job. I had no idea how to operate machines. Once someone believed in me and showed me how to operate the machines, I was determined to be the best operator in the world. I eventually became the best operator at plant which led to my promotion. I worked my way up to the position of coordinator of the cable department, but my personal career goals are much higher now.
After I graduated Joliet Junior College, I enrolled at Lewis University. My first class at Lewis was an online class. I was so nervous because this was a real University and I was not sure how I was going to be able to pass. I was so nervous that I read the syllabus at least 10 times. I received an A in the class. I started to gain confidence in myself which is something that I never had before. I received an A in the second class that I took. The third class that I took was accounting 2. I took accounting 1 at Joliet Junior College as an online class, and received a C- in the class. I had to study for 12 – 15 hours just to pass the final with a B. I had a great teacher for Accounting 2 and I was able to earn an A when I got a C- at Joliet Junior College. I knew my struggles with school were not my fault. I did not have quality educators in my past. Going from C/D student in high school to a 3.921 GPA at Lewis University seems like a huge accomplishment on my part, but in all honesty, giving 100 percent, top notch educators and confidence in my abilities is the reason that I exceled. Most people have the ability to excel at school, but just lack the confidence in their abilities. My two years at Lewis just flew by and I was always looking forward to the next class. Working 50 – 60 hours a week and going to school can be challenging, but dedication and self-confidence are the tools that I used to successfully complete my degree while achieving highest honors.