Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Change Agent

From the smallest changes to rather larger ones, no change is possible without a creator. These days many people succumb to whats expected of them and fear changing the dynamics of their environment. I’m not a revolutionist or trying to vilify the traditions in place. Rather, I’m trying to shed light on some minor things we can do that ultimately do not hurt the institution.

It begins with you. Every morning when you come in to work, you decide what attitude you’ll have and in turn, you’ll play a big role in deciding the attitude your students will leave with. There are things you can do to make your work environment more welcoming and positive to our new breed of college students. So here are the ones I’ve employed:

  • Get rid of the office chair. Ok, this one is radical. But give it a try one day, put the administrator style chair on the students side. Get a nice bouncy 85 cm gym ball and do your back a favor.
  • Smile, repeat and repeat many times. A smile releases a message to the body that your guard does not need to be up. Students will feel more comfortable giving you a broader perspective.
  • Have a collage wall with favorite quotes, positive images, family pictures, whatever can show that you too do have a personal life and are still a human being.

That’s all for now, hope you apply one or two and let me know if you get good results.

Why Advising Works

Each semester advisors get to discuss with students many aspects pertaining to their academic success. The question is always asked, “Why should someone have a job answering what could easily be Googled?” I make a hard effort to explain to students that not everything online is up to date and that sometimes you may misinterpret what you’ve read. An example is of a student who recently came in to discuss the opportunity to retake a course at a local community college. The student had been under the impression that they would need to request a course retake in order to take the course at the local college. After being able to discuss the situation, I was able to clarify that course retake permissions only apply to retakes taken at Stony Brook.

The conversation also allowed us to discuss the students campus involvement, opportunities for mentorship and utilization of campus resources to maximize the students success. What I enjoyed most was being able to connect the student to staff and faculty who are committed to seeing our students succeed. Later in the semester, the student returned to let me know they had begun a Research Assistant position and had found an area of interest in Environmental Planning & Design.

Building a Culture of Success

There are times when we desire to attain great things in life and we wish we had a map that would track our progress and give us the exact coordinates to attain every bit of what we want to see. Life is not that easy and even if it were to give us such tool, we aren’t the best species at following directions to perfection.

This blog is dedicated to my personal search for success and the job I get to do on a daily basis with the wonderful students I get to work with. So call it an opportunity to vent or a journal, this is the story of how I see a Culture of Success here at Stony Brook.