Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Detours (Part 2)

I wrote the first Detours post in April with the intention to highlight how my life took detours that I did not expect. It turns out that many of the best things that have happened in my life were not exactly what I had planned. (And I like to plan things!) I'll start with a little more background information for this post.

I do not blog much about my job, but I do throw in some bits and pieces. I work at a large university as an academic advisor for freshmen. I advise students for all majors, and I especially focus on science and engineering majors. Right now is our busiest time of the year with weekly orientations for new students.

As you can expect, I did not plan to be an academic advisor when I "grew up". I went through a variety of possible careers, including teacher and writer before my interests shifted to science in high school. By the time I was a college freshman at my orientation at Case Western Reserve University, I was pre-med with the intention of becoming a pediatrician or family physician. I was debating between majoring in Biology or Psychology.

My orientation was the week before classes began. Overall, it was a good week, but there were some rough patches. One evening, we had to meet with our freshman advisor (a faculty member) in groups for dinner. At the session, we received our official class schedule for the fall semester. I had carefully selected a schedule earlier in the summer and mailed in my registration form as instructed. That evening I did not have a schedule. What?! The campus offices were closed, but my faculty advisor, Dr. Gilmore, assured me that it would be fixed the next day. (He was very nice and helpful.) As the evening wore on, I headed back to my room instead of going to the activities. I was too stressed about my schedule to enjoy myself.

My schedule was located the next day. While my maiden name is not super common, there were two of us in the freshmen class that year with that last name. Maureen's advisor received her schedule and my schedule. When I received my schedule, it was just what I wanted, including General Chemistry and Calculus to start my pre-med requirements. I am sure that I told lots and lots of people that I was pre-med during orientation. (It seemed that everyone was pre-med, pre-dental or an engineering major.) I attended the pre-med information session and joined the Pre-med Society on campus.

Now I advise students each week with plans for medical school. For many students, their intentions are good like mine were as a college freshman. They want to help people like I did. They will often tell me what they want to specialize in after medical school. I smile, being a little older and wiser, and encourage them to get a good start on those science and math courses. I have no regrets about not pursuing medical school, but it was not an easy decision for me to make as a sophomore in college (more on that in another post). When I see stressed out students at orientation, I try to remember how I felt at my orientation. I was nervous, uncertain, overwhelmed and excited all at once.

1 comment:

Sharis said...

I try to remember that I teared up at my orientation and remember that I was stressed because classes were closed at the very last orientation! Haaa. I was everything we tell our student not to do!