Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Advising Files - Part I

So, I started going to these sessions on campus run by the student success center.  The course is a three-credit intro-to-college class given as an elective for freshman by one of the cheif advisors there.  My prof wanted to go and talk to the students about what it is to be a prof and invited me to come along with him to speak.  I obliged because I knew I could learn something.

You see, Prof D. is a great lecturer and the students really like him.  He's only in his second year of teaching and still relates to the grad students really well, too.  I like him a lot and have learned a TON this semester on how to lecture, how to put together a syllabus, and what to expect with grading papers.  He's always been helpful.  I figured I could learn something from his speech to the freshman.  Much to my surprise, he put me on the spot.  I didn't expect it, but I talked to them about reaching out to faculty members from the beginning.  It was the NUMBER ONE thing that helped me and it gave me three letter of rec writers just from classes my freshman year!  It also taught me a lot about academia, research, and being a woman in a male-dominated field.

So, anyhow, we talked to the students and then afterwards, Prof D. pulled me aside and said he could tell I was really interested in helping the students.  I told him that I loved doing this.  It's why I still tutor for athletics here and why I did it at my u-grad school.  I find it really rewarding - much more so than grading.  So, he told me to talk to the instructor of the class, R, and told me to ask her about how else I can get involved.

I did.  We met for coffee and I came to another session.  I was looking to get involved and she offered a job advising freshman.  This was a cause near and dear to me because I know just how crucial advising is for students.  My poli sci adviser was AMAZING.  She was the best.  But, I had a terrible Honors College adviser who screwed me over and a terribly bad gender studies minor adviser.  She was so bad that she almost made it impossible for me to graduate my senior year just because she couldn't sign off on my paperwork.  Nor could she understand why I couldn't meet with her when I was in the UK during my junior year!  She was a peach, let me tell you.

My baby sister as well (currently just finished her freshman year) was also screwed over by an adviser who did not tell her what she needed for education.  It is why she is now taking a ton of classes this summer.  So, for me, being a good adviser and helping students is really important to me.  I remember being terrified going into that session.  I was shaking even worse when my adviser didn't properly add up my credits and left me unable to register with 19 credit hours.  Thankfully, an adviser from the University Division was helpful and sorted things out for me.

I hope to learn a lot this summer.  While I knew everything there was to know about most majors in the College of Arts and Science at my old university, the COAS curriculum here is still mostly a mystery.  I feel as though grad students often have no clue what the students are facing with concern to the university often because our heart is somewhere else.  In my case, it's back with the cream and crimson.  By better knowing the curriculum,  I will also be better able to help y students by maybe suggesting a set of courses that would better help them in the future.  I really do care about teaching.

I mean, I know that I love research and this is why I am here, but when I have positive interactions with students and see them grow and develop, I get really happy.  Having one student come to me and ask about graduate school made me feel really proud - proud that he was considering this option.  It was also a huge honor that he was asking for *my* expertise.  When I was asked for a letter of rec this year, I wrote it gladly, despite my confusion with how to do so (it's all a learning experience, right?).  I really do care for my students and can't imagine a time without teaching.

So, we'll see if advising makes me feel warm and fuzzy (as I expect it will) in comparison to grading papers) and if I will continue to do it from this semester onwards.


Post a Comment