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Tavaris BaxterAuthor: Vincent Tavaris Baxter, First-Year Adviser serving Northern Vance High School

It seems as though all I’ve been doing this summer is counting. Counting down the number of days until I go to my school for the first time; how many days until training begins; how many days until I meet the other first year advisers; and finally counting down until I meet the second year advisers. Now, the only two countdowns left are the days until I leave the great friends I’ve made and the days until I leave the safety of summer training and venture off into my new partner school: Northern Vance High School in Henderson, NC.

Soon I will have nothing to countdown to and I’ll be placed in a new partner school that has never had a college adviser. I know that it is going to take a lot of work to find my place within the school’s culture, but I am excited to get there and work with the faculty. In getting to know the faculty I am looking forward to increasing the current college going culture of the school so that post-secondary education will become an integrated part of the students’ goals. Soon I will be counting up rather than down: counting the number of students I meet, the college applications submitted, the FAFSAs completed, and the scholarship dollars earned.

Entering this new environment, I have a little anxiety about gaining the students’ trust, but thanks to the sessions held during our training and the advice of the second year advisers, I feel mentally prepared for the situations I may encounter. Having the second year advisers available to mentor us and share their stories has truly been invaluable. There are some things that cannot be taught in a session; they can only be learned through experience, and we first year advisers are lucky to benefit from the wisdom and experience of our counterparts. The most important thing for me and all of my colleagues in expansion schools will be where to start. Being the first adviser means we get to build our own legacy in our schools, and introduce our position. It is our charge to create a good first impression of the Carolina College Advising Corps, and to show teachers and staff that they can hold high expectations of the new, young face in their school. It is going to be a challenge, but I am sure it will be a lot of fun, as well. I am glad to know that even after graduation, Carolina continues to provide me opportunities to leave my Heelprint.

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