Oct 3rd, 2017, 12:34 PM

Confessions of a Student Advisor

By Anabel Bachour
Orientation Fall 17; Image Credit: The American University of Paris
If you ever wondered who Student Advisors are and what we do, I advise you to keep on reading

When you join AUP you know that you will have an entire Orientation Week where you learn about the university and most importantly, living in Paris. During this week, you are accompanied by a student from the university who helps you discover your surroundings and teach you about all the important thing you need to know; and of course, takes you out and teach you how to have fun in Paris. However, once orientation week is over, it is over only for you. Whereas for student advisors, orientation lasts the whole semester. 

Fall 2017 Orientation; Image Credit: The American University of Paris.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that it isn't as easy as it sounds. Student advisors go through a lot of problems to make that week as fun as possible for you. Fernanda, who was a student advisor for Fall 2017, spoke to me about her experience: "Being a student advisor means becoming the go-to person for new students for absolutely everything. I think it's great, and I really enjoyed my time doing it. This was my first time being a student advisor and I had an amazing group of people. I consider my advisees my babies, it's like I just adopted them and had so much fun with them."

"It's a great job but it's really heavy, and it's not for everybody."

"Being a student advisor is not just being their friend, it is being there for them when they need you. You get to meet people, you get a chance to express yourself to new students, show them around and tell them what you like, what you don't and what they should know about AUP. Even though it is a lot of fun, it is at the same time a lot of work. At the end of orientation week you feel like you're going to die. It's very tiring and very hard to keep up with everything, but it is by far one of the greatest experiences of my life and I'll keep doing it as long as I am an AUP student."

Fall 2017 Orientation; Image Credit: The American University of Paris

Leona was also a student advisor this term, she opened up to me about what it meant to her and how it made her feel. "I really like doing it, you get to meet a lot of new incoming students, and it's nice when you know you're helping people, it's always a good feeling. but it could become stressful especially when students don't show up to activities, because we are trained, and we need to help them around, that's our job, but when they don't want to accept the help you are stuck in a place where you're like I need to help you but there's so much I can do." 

"When you're a student, you don't realize how hard it is for your advisor to do everything."

Lianna, a Graduate Student Advisor, shared her experience as a Student Advisor and what it encompasses. "When you move to Paris, everyone assumes you're the luckiest person on the planet which is entirely understandable," she said. "However, many people undermine the amount of stress and isolation such a transition it can entail. Our main goal as Student Advisor is to foster an environment of genuine comradery and support for each and every student no matter where they come from."

Fall 2017 orientation; Image Credit: The American University of Paris 

When I first heard of student advising I really underestimated the job, and maybe that was why I didn't get accepted the first time. When I reapplied for the second time, I definitely was more serious; I've been doing advising for the past two semesters and it has been a wonderful experience and a good way to give back to the AUP community.  I get asked a lot by students on how to become a student advisor, the answer to that is that in about 3 weeks from now you will get an email from student's affairs about the job description and you will see flyers around AUP campus. You can apply and then go to an interview with the team and based on that they will select the most apt applicants. A piece of friendly advice: don't apply to the job if you're not ready and willing to work extremely hard. It is a lot of work but the in the end it's all the hard days and long words are definitely worth it.