We all work with a lot of students as they navigate their freshman year and try to deal with being the newbie on campus. For many of us, these are easy conversations to have with students because we have been there ourselves and can empathize with the struggles they face as they navigate a new campus and are experiencing things they haven’t been exposed to previously. I have found myself in the unique position as an advisor who works with mostly freshmen, while simultaneously experiencing many “firsts” of my own because this is also my freshman year at Ohio State.
Having been an advisor at another school for the last seven years, I’m not used to being the new guy on campus. Because I worked at the school I also attended as an undergrad, I started that job with a network of familiar faces on campus, knowledge of the school’s traditions and folklore, and a working knowledge of the undergrad curriculum I had just graduated from a few years prior. While I am excited about becoming a Buckeye, the ongoing process is an adjustment for somebody who was so invested somewhere else for so long.
So, for my other Buckeye advising newbies who may be out there, here are a few tips based on my own experience that have helped me thus far:
- If coming from another school, resist the urge to start off a lot of sentences with “When I worked at [insert school here]…” This one took me a while to shake off, and I still catch myself once in a while wandering down Previous Policy Memory Lane. Things will operate differently here from where you have worked before. Our job as newbies is to take what we learned from previous experiences and learn how to adapt our transferrable skills to what we do at Ohio State. Be open to new ways of doing things, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how well a different approach works!
- Get to know people outside of your office! I work in a great office. And I would still say that even if I didn’t think my coworkers were reading this. But Ohio State is a big place, and we all will work with other departments in some way or another. Through my coworkers, I got involved in ACADAOS, and have already met a lot of great people in different departments around campus. Getting to know other people and what they do is a great way to make a big campus feel a lot smaller.
- Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Particularly if you’ve been in the advising game for a while, it may seem awkward to have to ask someone in your office about every little thing, especially if you are used to being the one giving advice. I’m learning that while universities carry out largely the same goals, they do so in very different ways. But just like you can’t walk into a gym for the first time and bench 300 pounds, it takes time to build the Ohio State advising muscles that will make all of this seem like second nature pretty quickly.
- Learn about football. Because it’s everything here. I come from a basketball school, so this ritual in which people gather outdoors on the weekend to watch guys on a grass field is a foreign concept to me, but I’m learning!