Mastering the knowledge and competencies of academic advising while developing greater awareness are long term goals of mine. Every bit of my unique background and education is called upon to improve the experience of undergraduate students. My advising practice guides multicultural college students to the academic and career success they define. The mantra 'Business of One' from career strategist J. T. O'Donnell has become part of my academic advising ethic to teach responsibility and awareness through student interactions.
The work I am grateful to do has cleared up a few things for me along the way.
1) I am a sensitive person and see the world differently.
2) There are those who call sensitivity a weakness (or worse).
3) Empathy and sensitivity become assets through the appropriate channel.
Campuses of higher education are a powerful living entity and all who tend to it are responsible for encouraging its growth, continuation. Could the institution called "higher ed" be the greater student in our charge? Academic advising serves as a doorway through which students can travel in college; its outcome has implications on their personal and career development for years. While we offer resources and access to students, we cannot assume they will accept our assistance. Therefore, academic advisors have to be as teachers of alchemy in order for students to realize an aspired transformation or goal. If the greater student called higher education is no different, then academic advisors in particular face new challenges in guiding the twenty-first century multicultural student as societal veneer cracks and systems perpetuating racism and oppression of historically disenfranchised persons dismantle.
I use my individual sensitivities to reflect on academic advising as a change agent for higher education. Initially this blog compared textbook knowledge to real world application for assignments in graduate school. Now I use it to build ideas for publication and presentation while sharing parts of my journey. Each day I work to become a better academic advisor, but focus more on cultivating a self-reflective practice of intentionality, curiosity, and care (of self, others).
If you ever go internal from a world of over stimulation or seek congruence and self-actualization through personal development, you may find something in these pieces. I write to support and challenge understanding; even create a disquiet about higher education. These are the vulnerable lessons about service and empathy I have learned and silently offer to a world that rarely turns around its bullhorn. I call them the Wilds of Learning.