I remember the first time I met my current advisor. I had just made the decision to switch my major from exercise science to journalism. The problem for me was that I knew virtually nothing about journalism or what it would take to complete the major. I anticipated a lot of writing, which I didn’t mind, but I was scared. My walk from Brock to his office in Alford was filled with nervous anticipation.
That first meeting ended up lasting close to an hour. Initially, we talked about why I wanted to switch to journalism and started planning out the rest of my college career. But that didn’t last long. It turned out he was a sports writer, and I had played my fair share of sports over the years, so we just talked sports.
It was probably another semester before I stopped being nervous about meeting with him, and most of that was just me being overwhelmed with everything as a freshman. But over the course of my time here at Cedarville, we have become good friends. I have had him as a professor in many classes, and he is the faculty advisor for us here at Cedars, as well as being my advisor.
Most majors aren’t quite as small and close-knit as the journalism major is, so it may be a little more difficult to get to know your advisor. But if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend developing a good relationship. Having a good relationship with your advisor can help smooth out some of the typical bumps along the way in your college career.
One of the biggest ways your advisor can help is with scheduling classes. If your major is fairly rigid as far as scheduling goes, it may just be a matter of meeting one time and planning out your entire college career. But if you are more like me, you may have entertained the notion of different minors or focuses, making planning much more complicated.
I switched my major after one semester. I started to pursue a minor in creative writing before deciding against it. I switched my focus within the journalism major from convergent journalism and a focus on sports writing to public relations after my sophomore year. My support field, which all journalism majors need, was originally sport management, and then I decided this past year I wanted to create my own travel writing support field, so I did. And I am still going to graduate in four years.
If I didn’t know my advisor as well as I do, I am not sure I would have made it as far with classes. But because we could talk and I was able to express where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with my career, he was able to help me pursue that vision no matter how many times I made changes.
And when I was panicking this past fall because a class I needed to take this spring to graduate was cancelled because I was the only person signed up for it, he stood with me. He helped me figure out how to replace the class in a way that would be the most beneficial to my education and future career. Even when I turned down his initial proposal, he stood by my decision.
But there are so many other ways your advisor can contribute to your time here at Cedarville as well. Your advisor could act as a mentor over the course of your education. This can be extremely valuable to those who live far away from where they grew up and went to high school. And who better to mentor you than a Christian professional in your field of study? They may also have useful professional contacts for future work. And who knows, maybe you will be offered a home-cooked meal or two over your time here.
At the end of the day, your advisor is there to help you throughout your time at Cedarville. And even if you do not have an opportunity to get to know your advisor on a personal level, you should at least be on good terms with them. Let them know who you are and where you want to go with your career. Your advisor will provide useful information and help you along your journey.
Erik Johnson is a senior journalism major and columnist for Cedars. He competes on the track team. Follow him @walkingtheedge9.