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Ari DeDeauxAuthor: Ari DeDeaux, First-Year Adviser serving Scotland and South Robeson High Schools

If you had asked me a year ago how it felt to be ending my college career, depending on the day and hour, I would have answered,

“More scared than I have ever been.”

“Deliriously happy and excited!”

“If ONE more person asks me that…”

Knowing that your undergraduate experience is coming to a close and learning to accept the inevitability of ‘real life’, you don’t always know how to feel. But now, I’ve been doing this thing called real life for a year; and luckily I was able to spend a couple days with my fellow Carolina College Advising Corps members to help make sense of everything the year held.

On May 9-10, all the advisers were able to get together one last time for our End of Year Retreat, before going back to our schools to finish up data and end of year plans. It was great, not only because it gave us a couple days to be around people over the age of 18, but because we were able to see some of our favorite people again, many for the last time in what might be quite a while. During our two days we were able to focus on our own next steps once we leave the Corps, whether that’s going back to school or moving on to another job. We had a panel to help prepare us for applying to graduate and law school as well as a panel of individuals that all work in public service and non-profit organizations. But, without a doubt, the best part was discussing what we’ve learned and taken away from our experience thus far.

Being spread across the state at 52 different high schools, of course we experience different obstacles and challenges, but when it comes down to it, no one BUT my fellow advisers truly understand what I go through on a day-to-day basis. It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when the student with a 2.8 GPA who you’ve been working with all year, finally runs into your office in March with an acceptance letter. Not many people understand the headache you get the day before a college tour when you still don’t have a bus driver. And, no one but a college adviser will know that sigh of relief when a student actually remembers their CFNC username and password! It is both an honor and a burden to have just finished your undergraduate experience and to be able to help other students begin theirs. The bond you make with your students isn’t like that of a student and a guidance counselor or a teacher, because you, more than anyone else at that school, really know what they are about to embark upon. In this short amount of time they’ve become ‘your kids’ and regardless of how many headaches they give you, you only want to see them succeed.

It may not have been much, but sometimes, food, fellowship, and an imaginary Boyz II Men “End of the Road” loop is all a group of college advisers need to give them a little push to make it to the end of the school year. So, just for a couple of days, we laughed, we blew off steam, we shed a few tears for the advisers that would be leaving, but most importantly, we celebrated all that this year has come to mean and all that the new year holds.

 

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