Academic advisors' main goal should be students' well-being, not popularity


Have you ever wondered where you would be without your professors and advisors? I sure have.
As the second semester of my junior year approaches, I have found myself in the midst of the age-old dilemma: What am I doing with my life?
I entered Mercer with the goal of becoming a pharmacist. I was right on track. I had great classes, and professors that I loved.
However, their fresh perspectives opened my eyes to new possibilities outside of my pharmaceutical plan.
As a result, I considered taking more English classes because of my FYS professor. I also debated taking Calculus II because of my Calculus I professor.
With Pharmacy School in mind, I figured Calculus II would be the more appropriate choice.
I went to my advisor to get my schedule approved.
Having not excelled in my Calculus I class, my advisor told me that I would be setting myself up for failure by taking Calculus II. She refused to approve my schedule.
Determined to prove her wrong, I signed up for the class anyways, and made an A.
During the course of that semester, I found I disliked Biology and threw my Pharmacy plan out the window.
In crisis mode, and still fuming over my advisor’s “advice,” I went to my math professor for guidance.
She convinced me that I would make a great addition to the Math department.
I found comfort in this idea and became a math major with her as my new advisor.
Still wanting to help people, I decided I would teach.
Seven math classes and an education minor later, I have discovered I don’t want to teach and I don’t love math anymore.
I’m only three classes short of the math major, and I’m going to finish. Yet I found I was basing my future on an admiration for a professor instead of the subject.
I have since picked up a second major in English.
Is finishing a major in two years, possible? Yes. Insane? Definitely.
I am fortunate to have enough room in my schedule to finish the English major, but many of my friends are not as lucky.
Many are unhappy with their pre-professional programs, and if they were to change now they risk being in undergrad for two, maybe even three years past projected graduation dates.
Having almost been in the same situation, I can only ask myself, where would I be had my advisors and professors taken a more unbiased stance when offering advice?
I understand that professors want their department to be “popular,” but shouldn’t the well-being of the student always be the main goal?
Just because a student shows an interest in a subject doesn’t mean they want to major in it.
Yes, we as students should focus on certain areas to ensure that we graduate on time, but why must we be rushed into decisions by our advisors and professors?
Is Mercer to blame with how courses are scheduled? Probably not.
Are all advisors to blame? I don’t think so. But we, as students, look to our advisors for guidance about the unknown.
We rely on their experiences to plan our futures. With great power comes great responsibility.
Do advisors and professors realize how much influence and power they have over their students’ lives?
Well maybe they should think about that.

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