On Purpose: Portrait of Undergraduate Advising

To commemorate our 150th anniversary in 2018, the College of Liberal Arts commissioned 60 photographs taken by Xavier Tavera. Departments and programs partnered with Tavera to envision their images and to write the narratives that accompany each photograph. View On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts.

Photo of a female student standing next to a female advisor in the advisor's office

Dear Advisor,

I’m writing today to thank you for the care you’ve taken to get to know and support me these last four years. It’s been a long road, but you were always there for me along the way.

Remember when we first met at summer orientation? It was about a month after high school ended, my parents were still telling me what I should do with my life, and I had no idea what college was going to be like. You were the first person at the U who sat down with me one-on-one, learned about my hopes and dreams, and helped me through the first steps of becoming a college student.

You had to talk me out of taking too many credits—good thing too! You were also the one who suggested that I might like that first-year seminar, even though I’d never heard of that department before. Now look at me—I’m graduating with a double major!

I remember when I told you I’d never been outside the country and didn’t think learning abroad would work out because I wanted to graduate in four years. But you explained that learning abroad could easily fulfill requirements, and to be open to the way it would change me.

I really did grow so much that term, and I still have the emails from you checking in on me when I was in Spain. It helped to know you were thinking of me from back in CLA.

That semester I got back was rough, remember? I was dealing with reentry, and that was when my mom first got diagnosed. I didn’t know how I was going to manage it all. You noticed my grades slipping, and didn’t mind when I cried in your office. You helped me figure out how to balance my academics with my family life outside of school, got me set up with a counselor too.

I grew up a lot that year, and all the while you helped me keep my eye on the future.

I was working a lot of hours waiting tables every summer, but every time I came in you asked me about career readiness and talked me into looking for an internship. You set me up with the career counselor and even showed me that internship scholarship. at was what made it possible for me to do the full-time internship where I found the job I loved. at was the summer I really started to see myself in a life after graduation.

It meant so much to see you at commencement, wishing me good luck and telling me to keep dreaming big. I’ll always be glad you were there for me, Advisor. You made sure that my four years in the College of Liberal Arts were a truly wonderful educational experience. I’m not sure I would have made such brave choices without you.

I am proud to be a CLA graduate!

Thank you,

Your Grateful Student

Advisors provide a referral, information, guidance, prodding, cheering, and sometimes, a shoulder to lean on. They see students through from orienation to degree clearance and are even there to see their students walk across the stage at commencement. One undergraduate student wanted to acknowledge this relationship.
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