As a college student, I can honestly say I went through many struggles. As a freshman at the beginning of my journey at Madonna University, I started to create a network. I gravitated toward a few faculty members who helped me navigate my courses and the school’s campus. These faculty members became part of the reason for my success in college. But, if there had been someone in my high school to inform me about college and advise me on how to prepare, I probably would’ve had an even greater advantage.

My counselor in high school was great, but her work was split among four different grade levels and a dozen different responsibilities. This made it pretty hard for her to counsel individual students in the entire senior class. After my graduation from Madonna University, I saw the AdviseMI program as providing an opportunity for me to give back to a field where I wish more help was available when I was in high school. In my short time of service as an AmeriCorps member, I have changed. I find myself opening up to students and in return, I’ve become a great listener. This helps me communicate with students in a more transparent way while also giving them the education they need to survive at the next level.

As a professional, communication has always been one of my areas of growth. 

Since I’ve entered this role, my communication skills have strengthened and also had a positive affect on my personal life. I am more open to new conversations and also interacting with many new people to expand my professional network. Students can attest to the fact that I often talk about business in my office, whether it is about administrative or entrepreneurial topics. I always have fun with these conversations and use them as teaching moments. I’ve joined a few of my students in writing out plans to create a short show on our school's Instagram page; it’s about the difficulties of matriculation and also discusses business ideas. For now, it’s been postponed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Whenever a student comes to me with postsecondary questions, I am happy to start a conversation with them. Sometimes they come to me with business-related ideas and I encourage them to pursue those as well, as long as it relates to continuing education! These conversations give me a chance to reinforce principles I know, and provide much-needed assistance to students on their postsecondary paths. They also help spark students’ questions about short and long-term goals, and are among the reasons I love this position so much!