Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Guest Blogger: Alyssa Irani

Today's guest blogger is Alyssa Irani, an academic advisor for Davenport University. Alyssa offers great advice for people of any age who are looking into go back to school or furthering their education. Thanks, Alyssa!

Have you ever had something you were inexplicably drawn to? Something that is your own personal geek fest? It could be absolutely anything from a hobby to a profession. Mine, for some reason, is higher education. I love colleges and universities. Whenever I’m traveling, I want to know what school is nearby, what do they offer, what is the campus like? When I moved from Plymouth to Traverse City in 1997 I was concerned about not being near big schools - which didn’t make sense because I worked in the automotive field! I grew up very near EMU and U of M and spent time on and around those schools, feeling the energy and watching the campus life. You can imagine that I was happy to find a beautiful community college in NMC (Northwestern Michigan College) and then thrilled to learn of the University Center. My need to work in this field overrode any other logic and I left the car business, completed my bachelor’s degree and found the job I wanted at the UC. Thirteen years later, I am a seasoned academic advisor for Davenport University.

I work with many students who have realized that higher-education will open doors that have previously been closed. Others have always known that a four-year degree would be a part of their life. People go to college for various reasons but aren’t always aware of certain connections. If you are thinking about more education, here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Contemplate the idea that we have unlimited potential. Never tell yourself you can’t do something (I’m talking to all of you algebra haters).
  • Ask questions until you understand and then answer questions whether you’re 100 percent sure or not. This is how you test your wings.
  • Look around at your classmates or engage them online. These folks are on a journey too and can be fellow alums and connections in the workplace.
  • Higher education is a process that takes time and energy. Enjoy the process and focus on the positive aspects because you are responsible for what you take from it.
  • Remember that you are investing in yourself and that degree completion can bring new opportunities that enhance your life and your family’s.

Traverse City is an engaged and connected community and I’ve seen how important it is to create your own network. This year I had the privilege of connecting two alums that I have worked with. One was looking to hire and another needed a better job. I was able to be a part of a life-changing connection that wouldn’t have happened without local higher-ed. People are completing all levels of education at the UC in Traverse City. As YPs we need to consider this phenomenal resource for ourselves and our employers. We have a very special gem in Traverse City and the tourists don’t even know it’s here!

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