Tomorrow I have to Advise. I have to advise first-year students in a group, and later in the week, one-on-one. I’ve never done this before, this formal advising thing, nor did I ever have to participate in it myself as a first-year undergraduate student. But New University has an intensive first-year advising system in place, which requires all full-time faculty and staff to be responsible for a handful of incoming students, tracking them through the year.
Now, I have tips on what to talk to them about tomorrow, but I’m interested in starting to think about what this role means, represents, and how I should approach it in a larger sense. Last year, in my first year of full-time teaching, I had a goodly number of my own students come to me informally for advising-ish functions – students told me they feel comfortable talking to me about their lives. But that was haphazard, and I never felt as if I knew quite what to do or what to say, or just what my function was supposed to be. It seemed to work; they were happy, and gave me grateful cards and such – but I didn’t like that I was doing it without clarifying a sort of philosophy of advising for myself.
If any of you who are more experienced advisors have any tips for me on the kinds of things you see as central to this advising experience, from the perspective of professor, I would love to hear them. Also, if you have a sense of what I might say to terrified first-year students tomorrow – besides “it’s important to go to class, do the readings, hand in work on time, and drop courses instead of failing them,” as I’ve been instructed – bring it on.
I’m sure I will post on this again, as I develop the role throughout this week and the year, and figure out what it means to me to be an advisor…