Friday, October 19, 2018

How To Deal With Difficult People

I’m lucky enough to have parents who support my decision to go to college to get an education. I hear, more times than not, people talking about how college graduates are “educated idiots”. I don’t disagree or agree with this statement. There are many factors that have contributed to why some people have this opinion.

I’ve learned in the last six years since I’ve graduated high school that employers aren’t just looking for people with a piece paper saying they are smart and have graduated college. Graduates need experience.

I work as an academic tutor in several institutions from public schools, online schools, and in a college. I love my jobs and I have made many friends with other tutors. In the college, I’ve been starting to hear the stories of how recent and current college students are struggling to break into the workforce. Some fields are easier to get into and the college I go to has many connections with large manufacturing companies waiting for the students to graduate and work for them.

Yet, this isn’t the case for everyone. IT students are finding out that breaking into the field is much harder than originally thought. I’ve been told, and IT students have been told that there is an abundance of IT-related jobs waiting for them once they get a degree. This isn’t necessarily true, and I’ll use an example from a friend who has two degrees in IT and still struggles with finding and keeping an IT job.

The IT field doesn’t just require a degree; the IT field requires experience and many times years of experience. Recent college graduates don’t have this and many times the colleges don’t teach this.

Don’t get me wrong, I love college. I live to learn, and I wouldn’t give up what I’ve accomplished in the last six years. But many colleges are run by the numbers. Technical schools, universities, any post-secondary institution is controlled by money. If enrollment is down, the colleges must either reduce staff or increase prices. It’s seen everywhere. I remember graduating high school in 2013, thinking $12,000 a year for tuition was expensive, but by the time I went to college in 2015 tuition had risen to over $15,000 in the same institution.

College isn’t for everyone, and sometimes, even if college is for someone, they cannot afford to go nor, will they risk their future by taking out tens of thousands of dollars for an education that doesn’t guarantee that they will get a job. And no one can go bankrupt on student loans!

This blog isn’t about complaining about the school systems or that college is too expensive or if it is helpful. My reasoning for the blog post may seem out of place for this blog, but I’ve experienced enough in the last six years that I have some stories and advice for people that are going through the same things I am.

I’m in college to get a degree in Educational Consulting so I can better serve my current clients and future clients.

I work as an academic tutor, so I can stay up-to-date with current trends of learning and allow myself to continue learning how to work with diverse groups of people.

I network with my instructors and reach out to my community, so I can better serve them in the future.

I’m an entrepreneur, so why are some people trying to stop this from happening?

I’m active in my college as a Regional Officer in Phi Theta Kappa, a member of the International Exchange Club, a presenter at 1MillionCups, and an academic tutor working with students in college readiness courses. I’m also participating in an International Exchange Program this school year where I’ll be able to visit the Netherlands.

Each of these clubs means the world me and are in some way helping me reach my goals.

As a member of Phi Theta Kappa, I’m honing down my writing and presentation skills.

As a member of the International Exchange Club, I’m learning how to communicate with students from all around the world. And I make lifelong friends!

As a presenter and advocate for 1MillionCups, I learn how to market, pitch, and share my business idea with my community.

As an academic tutor, I learn how I can grow academically so I can provide the best service to every student I work with.

But there are always a certain few who disrupt my path or say things to hinder me from accomplishing my goals. Now, no one can control me, and no one can control you! I used to allow these people to control how I felt, how I saw myself, and where I wanted to go in my life. I followed the rules, I paid my dues, and I did my due diligence without fail. I listened because these people are my elders and I respect them. It gets hard when these same people are the ones who don’t follow their own rules and do certain things that would get students in trouble. “Practice what you preach,” my dad said. I wish it was this simple.

Even with these struggles, I’ve learned how to deal with these situations and I’ve started implementing them in my life. I do have to warn anyone who is reading this who’s a woman, to be aware that if you decide to be assertive, some people, including women, may see you and your words as passive aggressive. I recently had to deal this after having to put my foot down and lay down the law because my health and my academic grades were at risk.

Here are some suggestions on how to deal with difficult people. These suggestions can be used as an action plan when times get tough or situations get sticky. I’ve decided not to research other people’s suggestions as I want this post to be as authentic as possible.

Show Respect

Regardless of the situation, I’ve always told myself that I need to show everyone respect no matter their opinions and beliefs. This used to be difficult for me as I once was passionate about politics and was leaning extremely far to one side. This is also difficult when the person who is being disrespectful is of higher ranks in society. By showing respect, you’re proving that you are the better man or women. My dad always said, “Never stoop down to their level.”

Stay Calm

I must admit that this is the hardest thing for me to do. And I learned about three weeks ago what stress can do to my body when I allow someone to control how I feel.

You’re perfect the way you are. Don’t allow someone who’s angry or having a bad day to determine if you will have a good day or not. When these situations arise, I feel upset and saddened, but I allow myself to process what happened before I start speaking because otherwise, I may say something I’ll regret. And it’s OK to sometimes say nothing.

Always Listen

This is my last piece of advice and I think it is the most important. I’ve been struggling this school year and it surprises me that it has gotten so bad so quickly. If my instructors, advisors, and bosses could’ve seen me on the first day of this semester, they'd be confused by trying to figure out what went wrong. I was jumping around, acting crazy because of how excited I was to start my classes. I almost got into an accident while driving to school on the first day because I was so giddy.

But I’ve went someone who was going to continue to a four-year college to saying, “I’m done once this school year is finished.” When I deal with difficult people, people who refuse to understand until I provide either a doctor’s note or parental letter, I listen to their concerns. It may seem like a one-way street at times but like with the first action step: show respect, you must listen to the person to let them know you’re trying to understand them. And even if the issue persists, you can walk away knowing that you tried and did your best to understand the situation.

China

Dealing with difficult isn’t something that only happens in the United States. If your reading this blog post, you may have read some of the other posts. I lived in Beijing this summer and had an amazing time. I continue to tell people that I would’ve stayed in Beijing if it wasn’t for having one year left of school. But I returned home because my education means that much to me.

When I was working in my host sister’s school, I had to deal with some staff and parents that didn’t like Americans. I wasn’t originally going to ever tell this story because I don’t want to discourage people from traveling to China. Yet, this is something, as an American, I had to deal with and figure out how to address without causing a scene or making the situation worse.

I wasn’t ever physically hurt by these individuals, but I was given the “look” of disapproval every time I was seen. Just like in the United States, where we have people who hate other cultures because of their religion, the way they speak, and their skin color, some Chinese people held animosity against Americans because of President Donald Trump. I was over in China when the Trade War was starting to pick up. When I left China, the Chinese government changed the terminal for all passengers who were traveling to the United States to the terminal that my host mom called “the worst and dirtiest”.

I had no right to be aggressive with these people because if I was in their position, I feel like I would also hold some animosity against Americans. Americans are very proud of their country and when someone threatens their freedoms, we respond in various forms from peaceful to violent protests, to acts of kindness and raising awareness to the issues or acts of violence or terror. I’m not upset with these individuals and I followed my three actions steps when confronted by them.


This was all a learning experience for me and I wouldn’t have learned how to deal with the situation from a book or a class. Sometimes, we need to experience the world before we take classes about learning about the world because books can only tell us certain things. 

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