Teamwork makes the dream work
When you have the stress of hundreds of students on your mind, it’s a bit difficult to sleep at night. The responsibility of helping students experiencing moderate to serious difficulties in starting their study programs successfully can be intense. But given all the challenges, I’m glad to be able to say that I have officially survived my first start of an academic year as an academic advisor. It feels pretty good.
What can I conclude? It’s definitely a different experience from being a student. From what I recall, as a full-time student, you are primarily concerned about yourself. Making sure that you know where you are going to live, your registration has gone through, you know where to go, what books you need, etc. When you're a new university student, the stress can feel quite severe when something doesn't go as it should administratively.
A few weeks in, I can see that things are settling down. Students' registration issues have mostly been resolved, they are engaged in their courses, and they are figuring out what lies ahead this academic year. There will be peak periods in the weeks ahead, but what gives me peace of mind is that there is always someone there to help.
I believe this is truly a luxury. And to be honest, it is a luxury that I would like to indulge in for as long as I can. Everyone has different values about what they need to be engaged in their work, but one of the clear ones for me is working on a great, supportive team.
When I started my career in human resources consulting, one of the things that I found quite fascinating was how often employees would stop working for the company as an employee and rejoin the company as an associate or contractor, doing the work they loved as coaches, advisor and psychologists but without all the administrative and business development work they despised. I always kept that possibility in my back pocket as I pursued my corporate career. In the end, I did do some freelance work before I joined TU/e.
Those experiences allow me to be certain that I wouldn't trade working by myself for my wonderful colleagues, leaders and mentors who provided support to get me ramped up in my role and eventually deliver so many kick-off presentations in such a short period of time. For all the students who helped out or remained calm when we experienced difficulties during some of those presentations. For my amazing teams of student mentors/buddies who are helping guide new students through one of the biggest transitions of their lives. And for the lecturers who helped cross check my error-prone spreadsheets and who help me help students who were worried about something relating to their study progress.
For me, success is experienced through a team and giving credit where it's due. Thanks to everyone who helps make it happen!