Author: Jake Reardon, Former Adviser, North Surry High School and Surry Early College High School
After graduation, I was one of thousands from UNC about to enter the work force. Who would give me a chance? I had little work experience outside of college, and as much as I wanted to make change in places that mattered, I didn’t know if I could find a job that was meaningful and paid the bills. As a college adviser, every day mattered to the students I met with—I helped bridge an educational gap with students in rural NC, encouraging them to dream and succeed.
Eventually my time with the Corps would come to an end, so I began interviewing for jobs that helped me maintain close relationships with students who were exploring the college world, and who needed a mentor and friend to guide them. I was hired to be a live-in Hall Director at Guilford College, and I use my experience every day on and off the clock. It’s more than just the ability to talk or connect with students; it’s believing in your mission—being able to take yourself seriously enough to Get It Done and take yourself lightly enough to have a Good Time. My two years as an advisor taught me to find my own personal balance at work and effectively lead and follow others. I manage my own schedule and make my own goals, and efficiently work in teams to accomplish large-scale objectives, even when team dynamics change. I live and work in the “real world,” something I could adjust to as a college adviser. I had the camaraderie of fellow advisers going through the same thing. I was further supported and challenged by understanding and dedicated supervisors. I never felt stranded or lost, and I was able to create my own work ethic and hold myself accountable while making a difference.
I’m confident and prepared for my future, and the Carolina College Advising Corps helped me get there. When I accepted this job, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on my future, but I’m certainly glad it did. You’d be hard pressed to find a Carolina College Advising Corps alum who regrets their time in the field. Each experience is unique, shaped by individual decisions, perseverance, and attitude. I know how creative, flexible, and dedicated I can be, and I learned how to empower others to step up and lead when the time calls for it. I’m proud and grateful for the opportunity I had to serve. My time will only continue to help me as I put my name and energy into future endeavors.