Commentary: Advising appointments are open doors, not boring college chores

As the end of the semester draws closer, faculty members are opening up their offices for advising appointments — an opportunity of which students need to take full advantage.

There are many valuable resources available to students at Shippensburg University, but one of the most underutilized resources are faculty office hours. While advising appointments are mandatory, that does not mean they should be treated like a chore. 

One-on-one time with an adviser can shape and reshape a student’s entire college career. 

The basic function of the appointment is to find out what classes need to be scheduled, but there is much more to it than that. 

It is a chance for students to learn about new classes that can help them meet their career goals and discuss what their career goals are. While the appointments are generally short, between 15 and 30 minutes, they create a great launch pad for future conversations. 

A good thought for professors and students to have during advising appointments is to remember this saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” A student does not know all the useful classes and student organizations at SU, while a professor does not know what a student is interested in. This is why both parties should create an active dialogue to find that out. 

If you are a student, make a concerted effort to ask your professor what resources are on campus to advance your academic career. If the professor does not have specific answers, he or she will be able to direct you to the right person.

Because advising appointments can be short and sometimes feel rushed, make a point of scheduling it as soon as possible. This will give you time to think about what classes you are planning to take and make sure they are the best fit. It also leaves you with ample time to talk to your adviser again before the end of the semester to have a more thorough discussion about your career plans.

If you are not sure what you want to do with your career, or what field you want to major in, this is the time of the semester to give that more thought. It is not uncommon for students to switch majors, add majors or even enter a different career field than what they went to college for. The catch is, to have a good shot of having a personally and financially satisfying career, you have to work toward something — anything. 

Take an active step in choosing classes instead of just trying to fill up your schedule quickly for the sake of convenience. Use advising appointments as an opportunity to make sure you are getting the best out of your college experience.

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