Keys to College Success: Regularly See Your Advisers

Photo credit: Matthew Hutchinson (flickr)

Photo credit: Matthew Hutchinson (flickr)

I want to start this blog post off by saying that I’ve only been to one college and therefore only know how the workings of this college pan out (to a certain degree). Therefore, I assume that most, if not all, other colleges have something that’s at least similar to the experiences that I describe. Why would I say that now though? Well– this post is going to be about visiting your advisers. Some schools may have a different title for the position but I’m going to be referencing those fantastically special people that keep you sane (especially as you get closer and closer to graduation).

Personally, I’m one of those headstrong people that never thinks they need the help of anyone. From what I’ve learned in college (and I’m still learning) is that asking for help DOES NOT make you weak. I know that’s cheesy and cliche but it’s true. It’s hard to accept, but it’s true.

I’m also one of those people that has to know what’s coming up for me in the future so that I can make my class schedule around those factors. Who knows that information? Your professors, yes (and you should really go in to see them too because if they know you’re really trying, they’re more likely to work with you when things come up), but also your advisers.

Think about it. For the majority of them, this is not their first time. You’re not going to be the first student they’ve helped and you’re not going to be the last (hopefully). Just from the pure nature that every time you have to schedule for classes and have to make an appointment to see your adviser, they ask you what’s going on in your current classes. What’s this mean? This means that they take mental notes (like, taking history of journalism and communication law is probably not a good idea unless you’re really good at memorizing lots and lots of things). They can also suggest classes that will count towards your degree and that you’re interested in. This is super helpful (at least for me being a student at Mizzou) because those course catalogs are REALLY overwhelming…especially since you only need five out of the thousands of classes that are offered.

The best part is that’s not it. Because they handle so many students at once and because advisers know how stressful college can be, they usually also take a role that was in the fine print of their job description. What could they possibly do? From personal experience, my adviser in the journalism school has become my cheerleader. I will be a first generation college graduate (which in and of itself is stressful) and he knows that I’ve always struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, now I’m a senior. I’m going to walk in May and because my situation was not perfect, I’ll graduate in August. But, if there’s anything else I’ve learned from my adviser, it’s that everything WILL work out and that just because your biological family can’t help you through this time (in regards to classes and such) doesn’t mean your school family can’t. That’s the great thing about college. Even if you don’t have that many friends, at least you’ll have the support of those in the least likely places. So, now, what’s stopping you from seeing your personal cheerleader?

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