As my service comes to a close, I have been reflecting on my choices that have led me here, and the choices that are propelling me into grad school next year. Namely the choice to take a lower paying position in order to be a College Adviser. It’s a decision that I have not regretted one bit.
Before I go further, when I say low paying, I am still able to pay rent on a small apartment that I live in by myself, and I am able to pay my bills. It has been manageable, but I have definitely not been able to save much towards any type of retirement or future plans. But it has been worth it.
When I accepted this position, I was excited to get into schools and gain experience working with older students around college. I would not have been able to do this without my supervisors. What I did not realize was that these supervisors were also mentoring me into being a young professional. They were the first people I called whenever issues came up or I needed advice. They helped me to troubleshoot problems so I could handle them on my own. These skills that they taught me are going to be invaluable as I progress in my own career.
While I had the support of supervisors, I was also given a level of autonomy that is rarely seen in a job for someone fresh out of college. I had a set list of tasks and events to do, but often there were days and weeks where I was not working towards one of these requirements, so it was on me to fill these gaps and create events and projects to do. I was allowed to be creative and to try new things at Waverly, and if it didn’t work, I tried something else. Even though I had two supervisors at MSU, and a site supervisor here in my building, they were often too busy to check in everyday and since I was the first adviser in my school, I had to set the tone and create the culture around the College Adviser.
This job has given the advisers an incredible amount of opportunities that very few people would have the chance to do shortly after college. Last year I had the chance to interact with different state legislators about the role of the College Adviser and the importance of college for our students. This year, alongside another adviser, Daniel Mitchell, I had the opportunity to present at three large conferences, we even had the chance to present at the CollegeBoard conference in New York City. Before this position, I’ve never attended a conference, let alone present at one. Recently, I also the opportunity to speak with Brandy Johnson from MCAN on WKAR, our local NPR station. It was an awesome chance to talk about how great my position is and to talk with others about college access at Waverly High School. Many of my colleagues in MSUCAC have also had unique opportunities. Daniel Mitchell has been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN). Many of our advisers have had the chance to coach sports teams and get involved in other ways at the school, which has allowed them to get to know their communities and schools better. One of our Advisers will be going abroad next year to teach English, and many others have found meaningful jobs after their year or two of service with the Advising Corps.
One of the big reasons I took this position was for the ability to make an impact. My passions in life have always been around serving others and education for all. This position combined these passions and have let me make an impact. In my time at Waverly, I have met with over 500 seniors and helped them find the right match and fit post secondary path. Having the opportunity to work one on one with students and watch them as they get into their dream schools has only validated my passions, and made me want to make a bigger impact beyond the corps.
Finally, this position has allowed me the time and opportunities to reflect on what I want to do, and has helped me to be able to afford grad school through the education award. This job has instilled a sense of confidence and pride in the work that I have done, and has given me many experiences to draw from when I’m in grad school. I’m so thankful for this position. Even though this position may not have paid a whole lot, the experiences and lessons from this position will carry me far in my career.