It still feels like a dream that my new title is College Counselor. There are times during the day, when I will find myself on a college website researching admissions information to be compiled into my own database of ranked schools, with a high percentage of financial aid met for demonstrated need, high freshman retention and graduation rates, and most importantly, support of underrepresented groups. I’ll catch myself reading an article about the disparity in access to higher education and muttering, “not at work, wait till you’re home.” Then I remember… this is my work! My greatest passion and what energizes me to my utmost core, is what I do.
Not that I was unhappy in my role as a recruiter with Search Solution Group, but I found myself envious of my coworkers who were energized by the business industry. They would exhibit the same level of enthusiasm reading about mergers and acquisitions as I did reading about first generation college students and changes to the Common Application. While I exceled as a recruiter and my competitive tendencies proved advantageous, I’m completely giddy that I now spend my days discussing college preparedness with students and speaking with admissions officers who were as real to me as the talking snowman in a fairy tale.
It certainly took time for me realize this underlying passion and I’m thankful for the road that led me here. Reflecting back on my application experience when I hand created charts to display college information that I obtained from books (not as Excel savvy in 2006) it’s quite obvious that this is what I was destined to do. While disappointed with some of my own admissions decisions, I truly loved the process. I was in awe visiting campuses for the first time and experiencing college from a perspective other than Rory Gilmore’s time at Yale. Reflecting back to middle school, one of my best friends and I recorded an episode of “College Life in the Big World” (creative title, I know) where were transformed my parent’s living room into our oversized dorm consisting of a sofa, tray table for our Oreos, and a CD player to blast N’Sync while we did our homework in our Soffe shorts and cheerleading t shirts.
I know I have much more to educate myself on and I certainly don’t want my students to be at a disadvantage because I am newish to this role. I want to be more knowledgeable than the private counselors or who charge $15,000 to oversee the application process, ensuring already affluent students receive acceptances to the Ivy Leagues. I want to be an advocate so that affirmative action isn’t something discussed with antipathy but rather appreciated for the opportunities we too often take for granted.
I’m sure there will be days with disappointments and impediments. Nonetheless, I’m confident my drive and eagerness for college access will succeed.