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Advisors

It’s that time of year again…. Advising Week! Everyone has to meet with their advisor to plan out what they want to take next semester and get approval to register for classes. Although it hasn’t always been easy to fit together the classes I want to take into my schedule, I do enjoy Advising Week. It probably helps that I’ve got such a great advisor! She is always there to give advice and help me decide which classes are right for me. Since I knew from the beginning what my major would be (dietetics!), I’ve always had a rough “Four Year Plan” of what courses I should take when. The only hard part is making them all fit together! But she’s been great about making everything work.

So here’s my advice about Advising Week: If at all possible, come in with a plan of what you want to take. It really does make the appointment go a lot smoother! I know that not everyone has settled on a major or decided what they want to do with their life, though, and that’s okay, too. The whole point of Advising Week is to give you scheduled time to help you figure it out. And if you have a great advisor like I do, you’ll be just fine!

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Switching my major isn’t a completely new idea for me. I know I love math and I know I really want to teach. I really like high school level, and was certain that was what I wanted to do. To become a high school math teacher, I am a Math major, so I take a lot of extensive math courses. I have been finding keeping up with the classes is more difficult than I had expected it to be.

I never wanted to be the girl who switched her major, not that there is anything wrong with that, I just wanted to be certain about my future, and not risk going more than four or five years. Knowing this I have been putting a LOT of thought into what I really want to do.

My observation class is in a 7th grade math class. I love it so much more than I ever thought I would! It opened up the idea of switching levels of being a math teacher. I have been talking to my family, friends, but most importantly my adviser, and my Calculus teacher who has had me for three courses so far. Everyone has been a big help, but especially my adviser and math teacher. They both know me well, and know how well I have been doing in my math courses, as well as how much I have struggled. They have been giving me great advice and supporting me with which ever I choose.

I do believe I have come to the conclusion that I am going to switch my major to middle school education. This means I will not be majoring in math, but instead in education and minoring in math. I think it is the best course of action for me.

Your adviser is there for you all year round. Not just that one week before registering for the next semesters courses. They honestly want to help you as much as they can, and they are a lot of help. I am glad I can so easily get a hold of my adviser and go to her office to talk about this stuff, instead of just dumping it on her at our advising appointment.

Speaking of, next week is advising week, and choosing my classes for the next semester always stresses me out! So wish me luck :)

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I’ve written crazy-long blogs lately, so this week, I’m taking it easy.  (Did you really just let out a sigh of relief?  C’mon…)

Anyway, Andrew’s latest post reminded me of my own experience with my professors, and I had an interesting encounter the other day that gives a nice example of how professors really do get to know their students.  I should set this up by telling you that my academic advisor and I are on really good terms – I’ve been in 2 of her classes, and we always say hi to each other and have little conversations when we see each other in the halls.  So, during one of these chats, she said, “You seem happier this year than last year.  Have you found a good balance with things now?”

(Granted, it’s not like I was super down last year, but the transition to college was  – and still is sometimes – very rough for me. I was not a happy camper last year, mostly because I missed my friends from high school.)

I answered her question, and we talked some more, and after we parted, it struck me that the fact that she’s so in tune with how her students and advisees are doing is really incredible when you consider how remote the relationship has the potential to be.

In fact, it makes me glad I go to Fontbonne.

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If you’ve ever looked at Fontbonne’s marketing, one of the things they love to talk about is the fantastic student-to-faculty ratio. I think it’s like 14:1? That means Fontbonne has really awesome, small classes, where you get to know everyone in the class by name and you never feel like you’re ignored. Your education becomes personal – which it should be.

What I can’t emphasize enough, though, is just how close you get to be with your professors. I mean, it’s really amazing, just to think about it. Let me give you some examples:
- I lost count of how many professors have written glowing letters of recommendation for me.
- I just wrote a letter of recommendation for one of my professors, at her request – the first time I’ve ever written a formal letter of recommendation! I’m still flattered she would ask me.
- I’m going out to play darts with one professor tomorrow night. (I’m expecting to get thoroughly crushed.)
- I still reach out to former professors for their advice and guidance on recent projects (like my resume)! They respond timely and with brilliant solutions.
- I took a road trip to New Orleans with my advisor (… for a conference. But it was still New Orleans)!

The thing is, I’m not some exception, some wildcard in the deck. That’s just the kind of culture Fontbonne offers. And I’ll be really frank with you: if you don’t like personal relations with really smart, caring people, Fontbonne might not be for you. If you want to hide in the back of the room and be known only as a number, Fontbonne might not be for you. But if you’re looking for an institution for higher education where the faculty members invest in your personal, academic, and professional development, Fontbonne is exactly what you’re looking for.

To close: thank you to all the faculty and staff at Fontbonne who have helped me achieve everything that I have. It’s been a blast.

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.