advising

If you’ve followed my column this semester, you know that, barring any major fuck-ups, I was set to graduate this May. Well, I have good news for everyone, except the poor souls bankrolling this train wreck: Ya girl is coming back in the fall. 

I know what you’re thinking: What did you do this time, Lily? Forget to transfer your AP credits from high school to college? Drop your photoshop class because you couldn’t figure out how to download the software correctly? Yes and yes, but that’s not keeping me from walking. My problem isn’t what I did, but what I didn’t do. 

I’ve skipped advising appointments at every opportunity since my freshman year. You see, I have this issue with something known as “avoidance behavior.” At least I think that’s what my therapist called it. I haven’t seen her in a while. 

My first experience as an advisee was with some condescending stranger who laughed at me because I told him I failed a class called “Intimate Relationships.” Sure, it is both funny and symbolic, but it was enough for my 18-year-old ego to say “fuck it” to the advising experience as a whole. 

Luckily, it wasn’t yet up to me. Shannon, my next advisor, wouldn’t give me my advising pin without meeting her. We met at least semi-annually. That didn’t mean that I had to be honest about my grades and it wasn’t helpful when trying to pick a major, but it did mean I at least had to take care of my gen-eds. Shannon was wonderful. She introduced me to the Creative Writing department and a community of writers who made me feel like I belonged at UM. Shannon was so wonderful that I can’t remember why I didn’t like the meetings. 

Once I declared as a creative writer, I met Maria. Maria was kind, understanding and even offered me tissues when she asked when I planned on graduating and I burst into tears. She got me on track around my third year, and helped me stay focused throughout the semester. Unfortunately, Maria was too good. She left for a better job the following semester. Maria, if you’re reading this, I miss you. 

Next, I was assigned to Judy.  At this point, I thought I had found and lost “the one”, so what was the point of going back out there and finding someone new? I was a cocky 22-year-old. And despite being one of the worst students I knew, I was confident I could be my own advisor. 

Now, here I stand, a 24-year-old who only made a legitimate advising appointment because I found out I couldn’t graduate three weeks before commencement. Don’t be like me, kids. See your advisors. Graduate. 

Lucky for me, Judy was funny, not judgemental and didn’t chew me out for waiting two years to come see her. If you’re in the same boat as I was, hopefully your advisor will welcome you as well. They understand our flaky, self-destructive nature and will always be there with tissues and, well, advice.