With more than half of the school year under my belt, I’d like to say that I know everything about being a College Adviser, but I don’t. This job is a constant cycle of learning, not only from other advisers, but also from my staff and students. I am learning more about myself while proudly serving as a first year adviser at White Cloud High School. Honestly, the sole core value of this position in my opinion is building relationships. You have to build relationships with your staff and students in order to be successful and in order to gain their trust.
As a first year adviser, how was I prepared to attack a normal day at White Cloud High School? I wasn’t really. I had some resources to utilize, but I had no clue what a day in the life of a College Adviser would even look like. On the first day of school, I was more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I wanted to make a good impression on everyone, but I also wanted to be taken seriously. “Just be you,” I whispered to myself walking into the building. I greeted all of the students standing in the lobby area and all students that I saw on the way to my office. That is something that I still do every day, no matter what. Honestly, the sole core value of this position in my opinion is building relationships. You have to build relationships with your staff and students in order to be successful and in order to gain their trust. I was very nervous to figure out how I was going to build those relationships with my students, but the key was just to set the tone with the first couple of weeks of school. White Cloud High School is not that big, but I still wasn’t sure how I would manage getting to know all of the students. As the year has gone on, I notice that I find myself rarely having to track students down as they willingly come ask questions and follow up with me.
One of my College Ambassadors, whom is very thorough in everything she does, is in my office almost daily, just to make sure she hasn’t missed anything. A few weeks ago she was in my office, just like any other day and she said to me, “Ms. B, you really seem to like your job. You actually care about us and you want to help us. I really like that.” This. This is why I often work through my lunch break, and I stay after school most days to meet with students. This is why I smile at every student I see. The fact that she realized that I truly love what I am doing and that I make it a point to ensure that each student that I speak with knows their potential and can feel comfortable coming and talking with me means the world to me. This is why that relationship building piece is so important.
I have somewhat of an interesting transition into WCHS. Before this year, the adviser has been split between White Cloud High School and Grant High School; two VERY different schools. So, not only am I a first year adviser, but I am also the first fulltime adviser that WCHS has had. Thankfully, the adviser who served last year still works in the county with me and serves at Grant High School as a fulltime adviser now. I was very worried about whether or not I would even find enough work to do, being that someone was only here for half of the week before this year. That worry quickly left my mind as I realize that sometimes there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. I command the advisers who are in split schools because I imagine it would be hard to feel like you are finishing everything you want to at each school. Honestly, having the GHS adviser nearby was what allowed me to transition so well into this position. She is a wonderful and kind person who probably should get annoyed with the thousands of emails and texts that I send her asking about something, but she is always willing to help her coworkers and she helped me learn the ropes in White Cloud. It has been wonderful to share with her the new things that I have implemented and be able to speak with her about some students that she knows.
Moving to Newaygo County was big step for me. First thought that came to mind when I saw this job posting: “Where is Newaygo County? Is that even in Michigan?” The second thought: “This is the best job in America.” The transition to Newaygo County was not only difficult for the first year advisers, but also for the second year advisers as well. They went from having split schools, to being fulltime at their schools and they also went from only have three advisers in the county to now having five. Although, it was strange to get used to at first, I think the five of us have a wonderful relationship. We meet very often whether it is meeting in Fremont for a meeting, going to dinner or building a graham cracker society in our LCAN’s kitchen. There are not many people (if any) our age in Newaygo County, so it is very comforting to be around people who can understand your situation.
I look forward to learning more from the people of Newaygo County, from my fellow advisers and supervisors and I hope to continue to make a change in the lives of White Cloud High School students.