Thursday, October 11, 2012
Fall color isn't something we see much of in this part of Texas; it doesn't cool off slowly enough for the leaves to turn the brilliant reds and yellows. Leaves here are green one day and on the ground the next! This is just outside the Gaylord Opryland resort in Nashville, TN; I spent a few days there last week at the annual National Academic Advising Association conference (NACADA).
I don't get to travel much for work, but this conference I try to go to every year. In addition to getting to go new places, I am always amazed at how many people choose this career. There were 2,900+ advisors in one place for four days and it was awesome. Advising as a profession is growing, and more institutions are recognizing how important advisors are to the success of students. It takes a certain type to be an advisor, though; this job ain't everyone's cuppa tea. I believe it certainly is mine, though. I love being around the students, who are so full of energy, of hope, of life. It's easy to get burned out and be cynical about the demands of students and parents and faculty and administration... and I will admit there are days when I just want to go home and crash and not come back. Thankfully, those days are few and far between.
Little things make a difference, and they also let me know I have made a difference. One sweet student brought me cookies today; I also have a student who drops by about once a week just to chat and get a hug. Those little things make my day and remind me why I do this job, why I answer emails from panicked students at midnight, why I care... Advising, for me, isn't just a profession, it's a passion. NACADA allows me to be around others who feel the same, even if it's just for a few short days. (Not that there aren't other advisors on my campus who feel the same- there are many of them, it's just we are all so busy we rarely have time to see each other!) I come back rejuvenated and rededicated to the profession every year, and my passion grows. NACADA waters my little advisor soul.