A year ago, I printed out take-home packets for my second graders in Madrid, Spain, for a two-week break as the novel Coronavirus began spreading across Europe. I told my students, “I’ll see you in two weeks,” but by the end of the week, I was boarding one of the last flights back to the United States before Spain closed its borders. Like many of us worldwide, my second graders and I finished the year virtually and apart. The lessons taken from second grade have empowered me to hit the ground running as a first-year advisor. I would argue, actually, that no one teaches humility and grace (two core values advisors strive to adhere to) better than a classroom full of curious children! Besides learning not to take me too seriously, having already pivoted overnight from in-class teaching to the virtual world prepared me well for navigating the virtual advising space. Starting my advising term online this fall was something I knew I could make work! I was confident that I could positively impact my students at High Point Central High School with enough flexibility, creativity, and perseverance.
Through the mentorship of fellow advisors, I have built upon my classroom skills to better serve students in this unprecedented pandemic. Through creative engagement, including organizing a FAFSA drive-through, collaborating with community partners, and multiplying my impact by engaging with my students through a social-emotional learning framework, I have been able to further our collective goal of establishing a robust college-going culture at my high school all while moving virtually. This year has been a dramatic and challenging time for almost everyone around the globe. While this year has been difficult at times, finding my way back home to my Tar Heel family has been an unexpected gift. I never imagined that I would start 2020 working with eight-year-olds and finish the year working with eighteen-year-olds. Whether living as an American in Spain or serving students as an advisor here in my home state, this year has taught me that we ultimately must continue to lean on one another.
I look forward to returning as a second-year advisor to serve High Point Central (hoping for a more typical school year) as a proud member of the Carolina Advising Corps.