Student Adviser….keeping grad students happy.

I am the associate advisor for a study abroad program at a large public university. I do 2 things…I either take care of students… Graduate students mostly, if they have a problem with grades or teachers. Even though it is not written in my job description, I take care of a lot of grad students problems because grad school does funny things to students.

I think grad students kind of all become the same person when they get to grad school. They become nervous or paranoid or over worked or over stressed. Depending on what kind of person they were before they got to grad school, it kind of reflects on what kind of person they become. Some people can’t handle it.

I’ve had students come in who are convinced that they are the dumbest person in grad school and everyone is smarter than them and all their teachers hate them. I’ve had several students come in like that…and you have to reassure them that everyone is feeling the same thing.

I fell into it because I was the only student in the office and my boss had a baby and I was going to take over for her while temporarily she was on maternity leave, but then she decided to move to Africa with her husband who was a USAID worker and so I just got the job.

I like my job, I do. It’s low pay, which kind of sucks. But it’s South East Asian studies, which is my field, so I always have contact with my field, with really good people….

I don’t like that it’s low pay but I still work more than 40 hours a week. And sometimes whatever you do it is not enough…like for students. I have students that I spend hours and hours with and it’s just not enough. I’ve seen students drop out…not go nuts but have minor breakdowns and you feel like a failure that you couldn’t help them get through it.

I think of quiting…not all the time…but the only reason I would quit right now is to go abroad…live overseas.

In 5 years, this may sound typical…I’d like to work for an international organization, hopefully in the service realm…development. It’s tough to get those jobs, but I’d love to do it. In 30 years…I’ll be old…Ideally, I’d be the head of one of these organizations. Running it and running it well.

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