By Narra Georges
“Things change in your life and you will change, but it’s okay…”
- Have you always been a people person?
“I have always been a people person. I have always wanted to work with young people, especially. I started out as a kindergarten teacher, and I then evolved my career along the way. Definitely college students are my group, they are my people.”
- What was one moment that has influenced your life the most working here at FSU?
“The one moment that has influenced my life the most and certainly my career path within Expanding Horizons at Fitchburg State the most, was when I had a senior come to me in tears. She didn’t come to see me specifically, she came into the office. She was not going to graduate on time because of a single class, and she had received some poor advising. Then to compound that, she had received even poorer advising, saying that there was nothing that could be done about the previous poor advising. I made two phone calls, and we fixed it so she could graduate on time. I knew then and there that I could make a difference in someone’s life who was ready to say, “I’m gonna have to spend an additional semester just to take one class”. The money, the time, the disappointment, the questions from her family about why was she not graduating when she originally thought, all of that could be taken care of. I did take care of it and it was because I took the time to listen to the whole situation, which I don’t think others who had been advising her were doing. They could have figured out that there were actually two pieces to the puzzle: one at the registrar’s level and one at the faculty advisor’s level. Once both of those were resolved, the problem was solved. I am passionate about kids graduating and moving on with their lives. I don’t want any small problems, in any way stop someone from fulfilling their dreams, and fulfilling their dreams in a timely fashion. That was huge.”
3. If you weren’t an advisor, what would you be doing in life?
“If I was not advising students, I would be teaching students on the college level. I would absolutely be somewhere in Communications or Human Services. Somewhere I would hopefully be able to make an impact on students. I want them to know that the one path they may see for themselves is not the only one. There are so many different directions their lives can take and that what you’re going to do after graduation is a 1 to 5 year plan. Things change in your life and you will change, but it’s okay to say, ‘I’m graduating with this degree and I’m going to do this right now’. And then five years later, be doing something completely different. Especially for my first generation kids. I would make it so that I either met with their parents or that they somehow told their parents, that it is an okay plan, and it’s completely acceptable. For people who have not had the opportunity to go through college and experience the way you change from your freshman to your senior year, it’s completely not understandable as to why you would change your major, why you may do something only for a short term and then move on to something else. But what I know is that we are built to change and evolve. One of the best things you could do for yourself is to allow yourself to say, ‘This is not me anymore’ and find out what is. Somehow, I would be working with college students. Probably in some sort of teaching role. I would get my doctorate and I would teach classes.
4. What’s the biggest challenge when working with students?
“The biggest challenge in working with students is that I don’t see a senior who has 108 credit hours sitting before me. I see pure potential and a lot of people don’t see that potential within themselves. I know that anything you want enough, you can get. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind for any single student here. Everyone can graduate. Fitchburg State could graduate 100% of its students. Our program could graduate 100% of our students if we can tap into three things. Number one, your passion for doing something. I don’t even care what that something is. We can find a way to make that something happen. Number two, is your dedication to follow up on that passion because there’s no easy route. That’s why I have posters from Michael Jordan up on my wall because he missed 9,000 shots, but he is considered to be one of the greatest players of all time. He stuck with it! He wasn’t looking at the shots he missed, he was looking at the ones he kept practicing and taking. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for the passion, the dedication to tap into that passion, and finally, probably the most important is the belief in yourself, that is going to carry you through all the rough spots, of which there will be many. If we can find passion, dedication, and belief, that would be the key. It makes me sad when someone who is between the ages of 18 and 24 has already given up on themselves. Who are you to give up on yourself? You are too young to give up on yourself!”