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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.

Jake Reardon

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. 

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