College students should reach out, connect with their academic advisers

Skye J. Lyon, forum contributor

I’m in my final term of my undergraduate studies. Seeing clearly in hindsight, I can honestly state it was not thanks to some sort of witchcraft or sheer luck that cultivated my success. I made it this far in my college career due to the constant dialogue I had with my academic adviser.

For those who laugh and coyly admit that they have never had any sort of formal relationship between themselves and their advisers will ultimately regret this slip up in the long run. You will never know the untapped potential you can channel if you refuse to actively self-prescribe set meeting times with your designated adviser.

However, not all pro-staff members are cut out for their position. Some many scoff at your dreams, trample over your ingenious ideas, and shatter your thought of ever possibly graduating.

Beware of community college advising staff, they are notorious for their lack of care or attention to your specialized issues; but lucky for us, we are granted a generally fair bunch of knowledgeable minds who feed our needs instead of breaking our moral.

If push comes to shove and you and your academic advisers are not connecting with you on a level you have hoped for, there is no room for fret. Advise the head of the college in which you belong to and seek out other advisers and/or alternatives for your given situation.

Realize, though, that not all advisers are created equal. A chemical engineering adviser will not necessarily be the best fit for an English major to seek out help from. Find someone who speaks your “academic language”. Someone you can see a bit of yourself in, because years down the line, look at yourself in the mirror: If a bit of their good nature rubbed off on you, they succeeded at their job.

It was not until Oregon State University, when I realized what effective advising was. Know that your adviser is not only limited to you, but to a plethora of other students. Be considerate of their time and come in with key points you desperately need to touch on. But also look out for qualities you admire in that adviser. Will they sit with you and talk about your personal life and how it can effectively influence your life path? Will they simply sit in their office and hear you rant about a terrible class? Or do they have all of the facts and figures with no general care toward you as a person?

These are traits to either praise or be wary of.

We all need constant assurance we are doing the right thing by seeking out a college degree … do not be afraid to open your door, step outside, and seek a little guidance from someone who can unleash every given possibility in your life.

The opinions expressed in Lyon’s column do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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