Work has officially begun, and for the Carolina Corps adviser, that’s a round-the-clock commitment. I’ve only “worked” two full business days, but it seems there’s been few moments during the day when I’m not preparing, strategizing, or generally pondering about ways to best serve my students. Good news is, I’ve loved every minute so far.
Playing the role of an adviser requires, I’ve already found, a lot of unexpected ventures throughout the day. For me, this involves constantly re-configuring my new office or wandering around the school in an attempt to find something: an answer to a question, access to student data, or even more frequently – masking tape. I expect that the unexpected will only arrive more frequently when classes begin, but I suppose I am ready for it. I’m incredibly fortunate to have on-site supervisors whose styles match my needs. They have constructive advice and project ideas for me, but give me a great deal of independence in how I take on my work. When I first met the school staff, many of them informed me that I “have big shoes to fill,” in reference to the former adviser. But really, I feel as though they are allowing me to bring my own ‘shoes’ to the table, and it keeps the pressure low.
If there is a downside to my first week, it’s probably missing my coworkers after our month of training together. One of the most overlooked aspects of the program is, I think, the bond you create with others who are passionate about this service. Regardless of the surprises ahead of me, good or bad, I am lucky to have a network of dedicated and wonderful colleagues there for me. I think I speak for all of us when I say that the program is an amazing first step into our professional lives. An experience like serving with the Corps hard to come by – perhaps even more so than masking tape in a large public high school – and I’m so happy to say I found both.