Within 24 hours of admitting I had a serious mental and physical health issue to my closest friends and family, I ended up in the most obvious place one could imagine: my academic adviser’s office. I showed up to the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Advising Office sleep-deprived and disheveled without an appointment, desperately begging for someone to break the rules and let me see the only person I thought could help me navigate the next few months of my life.
My adviser saw me within minutes, offering moral support, practical suggestions and an entire box of tissues. A situation that seemed like an insurmountable challenge moments before was now being rationally approached. She sat with me while I spoke with Counseling and Consultation Services, sent a preliminary email to my professors informing them that I was experiencing some personal challenges and talked me through my options for finishing the remainder of the semester.
Most importantly, she helped me believe that everything could be OK, even if it definitely was not in that moment.
In the months following this revelation, she frequently checked up on me via email and squeezed me into her schedule whenever I needed her. She made me feel like my problems were important, which is no easy feat on a campus as big as ours. From handling my freshman year freakouts about my future, to helping me conquer bigger and scarier life challenges, my adviser is the reason I am still a Buckeye. No number of great friends and supportive family could have helped me in the way that she did. When I receive my diploma, it will be largely due to the energy and compassion she has given me throughout my college journey.
While my adviser is truly spectacular, I’ve had the privilege to interact with all of the honors advisers in the College of Arts and Sciences as a peer mentor. They are some of the most passionate, dedicated and helpful people I have come across at this university. Each has made me feel important and welcomed. They are always willing to help students, even when it is not their advisee or when they had planned on leaving work five minutes earlier. From streamlining scheduling to making you feel like the enormity of planning your future can be managed, they can and will do anything to make our lives easier — even if it makes their jobs harder.
I understand that most people might not have an experience like mine. However, I like to think that my adviser is more the rule than the exception at Ohio State. Advisers are a truly resilient group of human beings, with an often thankless job.
I’m not recommending we all run off to have emotional breakdowns in our advisers’ offices, but I would encourage you to appreciate their expertise and experience when it comes to navigating this huge place we call home for some amount of time.
And, while you are at it, go ahead and thank them for spending this part of their lives shaping ours.