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Rickita BlackmonAuthor: Rickita Blackmon, First-Year Adviser at Garinger High School

We did not begin with an icebreaker. I can assume that most of us expected to engage in some sort of activity that would reveal quirks about ourselves in hopes of easing the tension at the first day of training, but we were wrong. Instead, our Program Coordinator, Ms. Keith introduced the Corps and welcomed us to the family. Intrigued by her use of the term “family,” I began to gaze around the room and look into the many faces that shared this moment with me. While knowledgeable of why I chose to be a College Adviser and the experiences that brought me to this point, I wondered what inspired others in this room to take this path. Over the coming weeks, I would come to learn from, relate to and love the faces that beamed as bright as mine when we were welcomed the family.

None of our paths were exactly the same as we were once leaders, ambassadors, trailblazers, transfer students, poets, scholars and the list goes on. However, we met at crossroad of a classroom where we had all made the decision to be present. In this classroom, we engaged with all aspects of the college-going process. We shared best practices and listened to priceless stories that sparked even greater appreciation of the work that is ultimately accomplished. Traveling across the state, we visited colleges and universities to get a first-hand look at where our future students might choose to attend and graduate from one day. It was a remarkable five weeks of growth, understanding and learning.

It is undeniable that there is something uniquely special about a person who decides to be a Carolina College Adviser but I did not realize after I learned of their impressive work or volunteer experience, and not after I listened to their inspiring stories. It hit me when I witnessed their passion and grace in the midst of adversity. I have no doubt in my mind that the same faces that I stared at on the first day of training will shine even when rained on, believe in the finish line when visibility on a bridge is unclear and remain determined in a journey of college advising even if one tire goes flat. We are ready for the road ahead equipped with the ultimate toolkit, a Carolina College Advising Corps family behind us.


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