Connecting with Your Adviser

Building a relationship with your academic adviser is vital to maximizing your World Campus experiences.

I would like to share my experience with my adviser, Richard Brungard, who has been exceptional and has made such a difference in my academic success!

To give you a little background, the start of college was an exciting, challenging, intimidating and most of all, frightening experience. I needed structure, handholding and guidance. My education before college consisted of graduating high school later in life, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue further education.

I’m sure you can imagine the intimidation I was feeling when I was able to go back to school in my late 30’s. “What courses do I take?  How many? What major should I look to pursue?” As an adult learner, these were all new questions that I never had to ask before.

I did not want to risk failure, and wanted to have my semester get started on the right track without being derailed. My anxiety was in overdrive! Failure was not an option. After all, my six daughters were going to be looking to me as an example.

I knew I needed an adviser who would guide me. Someone who would challenge me, offer constructive feedback and deal with all my concerns. Or, as Richard says jokingly, my “Type A personality.” Basically, Richard just gets me. He knows what courses would be a good fit for me to grow as a person, and understands my goals and career aspirations.

I have to give Richard recognition for all his support; he has paved the way for me. My grades are such that I was inducted into Pi Delta Chi, Penn State’s chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society for adult learners. It is an accomplishment I would never have thought achievable in my lifetime. Most importantly, Richard has given me the opportunity to learn subject matter from courses I would never have considered, which has broadened my life experience.

My advice to all students reading this is to reach out to your adviser and build a relationship that benefits both of you. For the student, the benefits are obvious. For the adviser, it helps them align your goals, strengths and needs with classes that will contribute to your academic success. It may take only one phone call or a few e-mails to establish this relationship. Whatever it is, it will be well worth it!

I wouldn’t trade Richard for anything. When we visit University Park, I usually stop by to see him and say hello and share a few laughs. I consider him an important contributor to my educational success and will invite him to my graduation.

Unfortunately for him though, he’s stuck with me until 2014!

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