Survive & Thrive: First Week of School

by Olivia Miller

This past Monday classes began at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, marking my first day as a professional with students on campus. The first week for our office is one of our busiest times of the year with all advisors on a walk-ins all day everyday as students are adding and dropping classes, enrolling a full schedule, changing majors and adding minors, as well as looking into starting the academic recovery process while being on probation. Since the summer is lighter in nature, I did not fully know what to expect, but having up to 15 people in our waiting room at a time on Monday was not one of them.

I quickly learned from the first day alone that the first week is very similar to working retail on Black Friday and Christmas Eve day – traffic is higher, the stakes are higher, there are emotions and little time in between students (and customers) to breathe, let alone time for lunch. The first day I saw 23 students, the most of anyone on our staff. By the end of the day the students were becoming a blur, and I felt overwhelmed trying to get as many students in and out of the office with their specific needs met. I also did not take lunch until after 2:00 because like working in retail during undergrad, I tend to put others and their needs before my break.

By the end of the week I saw just under 100 students. Multiple classes were dropped, or switched for an “easier” course, full-time schedules with 12 credit hours were created, some students came in to double check their graduation status for December, and I left the office exhausted, but satisfied and happy every day. I was nervous how the first week would go, since I am still new after three short months, but with two newer advisors in our office I had to step up to the plate.

 So yes, this first week was stressful, exhausting, and sometimes frustrating. However, it was also exciting to see students on campus again, to hear their concerns and excitement for the future. It was only five days, but I know that this is where I am meant to be and what I should be doing – which is all I really wanted when I was stressing out over the job search just a few months ago. I am excited to meet and work with more students over this fall semester. This week we start working with students on probation with academic recovery coaching – something different than this past week, but I am looking forward to these conversations and setting up plans for our students to be more successful while here at UNL.

One week down, 15 more to go for the semester. I hope each of you had a great week – whether school has started for you or if you are still in training mode. Remember to take time to breathe, and to take your lunch, and thrive throughout this fall!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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