A required meeting with a school professional has been engrained into our psyche as something to not look forward to. We put very little forethought into the matter, wait till the last minute to prepare, and try to keep it as short as possible.
In college you’ll be required to have about one meeting a semester with your student advisor. If the goal here is to roll in, stay put for the 20 minute slot, be agreeable and have your advisor mark “yes” on your account so that you can sign up for the next run of classes, you’re missing the whole point of college.
College is amazing becuase of the assets available to you. Assets, assets, assets. Think about it. The library is an asset. Your industry expert professors are assets. The clubs, the party house, the amount of time you have—they’re all assets; assets that are only available so comprehensively during these four years. Your advisor, for damn sure, is an asset.
They’re an expert in the field you’re studying, they’re an expert on how those studies transition to employment, and they basically work for you. A strong relationship between you and your advisor will give you a better idea of what you want to do and how to do it. Period. It’s an asset that you can’t afford to waste.
Still, many advisors see hundreds of students like you every year, which means they’re just as likely to go through the motions than you are. Don’t let yourself become just another conveyer-belt student pushed out into the working world. Stand up and impress and engage your advisor in a way that only a young and fierce college student would know how.
1. Be positive
Ever wonder why we love to daydream but hate to talk about our future? It’s because when we have to talk about accomplishing our goals we realize how far we are from actually doing so. But you know what? That’s why college takes four years. Instead of worrying about your future, look at this as a fun opportunity to daydream about what's possible. If you aren’t exactly sure of what you might want to do after college, which most of us don't, then simply say “this major interests me, I don’t know what I want to do exactly, but I want to be excited about it.”
2. Create a list of job titles within the industry and get them confirmed
It’s amazing how so many students wait to complete their degree, buy their cap and gown, walk, and then start looking at what type of jobs exist in the industry they just spent 4 year preparing themselves for. If you’re interested in a particular field of study, then don’t wait. The easiest way to do this is to find a bunch of companies that employ people in your field, and take note of what entry level jobs they offer. Once you know the specific titles, work with your advisor to build the skills they require.
3. Come in with a question to have answered
One way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your advisor is to always go in with a question you want answered. It could be as generic as what cities is this field of study most prominent in, or as specific as what minor do you think would best supplement this major?
4. Leave with something to think about
Likewise, you should always leave with something to think about or learn. Easiest way to keep yourself informed is to follow publications or companies on social media. If youre into business marketing, read Inc, if you’re into environmental protection, read the Greenpeace blog, if you’re into game design…do more then just play games. This extra knowledge will impress your advisor and enhance the conversations you'll have with them.
5. Don’t complain
Advisors will often ask you how your classes or going, which is your time to be honest. But instead of saying you hate this class or that teacher because it’s wack, just say you find it less interesting or that you’re not quite engaged in it. This will help them identify your strong suits and dislikes, not your lazy, pessimistic tendencies.
6. Set up more meetings than what’s required
One meeting a semester is nothing. They won’t remember you, and you won’t learn anything. You need to go above and beyond and set up extra meetings with your advisor, and not just when you have a midnight “I think I’m going to fail this class” crisis. Like I said before, make this a fun experience. Set up a meeting to ask more questions about to get where you want to go.
If you’ve reached the end of this blog and have wondered, “what if I don’t like my advisor?” then you’re a sensible person. You may not, and they may not be as keen to help you as they should be. Still, it’s their job to, and if you can manage to play to their ego and treat them like an expert that you rely on for invaluable knowledge, then your relationship should turn out pretty well. They’re there to help you, so please, please use them.
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