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How I learned to ask for help early and often

Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

One of the best things about academics at Juniata, as many will attest to, is the two-adviser system. Assigned to you upon the start of your freshman year, you’ll have an academic adviser, someone who knows the ins and outs of your POE, as well as a mentor, someone who is there to guide you through your college experience. The pros of the two-adviser system are abundant if you know how to use it.

I believe that I began my first year at Juniata at a disadvantage to many of my peers, simply because I was unaccustomed to asking for help. In high school, I felt like there was a stigma associated with receiving help from teachers. When I began college, I tried to figure things out on my own instead of going to my advisers for help. So for my first two semesters, I relied on myself to schedule my courses, understand my POE requirements, and learn what each requirement meant and how to fulfill it.

It wasn’t until my second year at Juniata, when I decided to change my POE, that I finally admitted to myself that I would need help if I was going to be successful at Juniata.

I found myself sitting in my new adviser’s office, nervously bouncing my leg. When Dr. Cockett asked how she could help me, I honestly didn’t know what to say. She eased my fears of reaching out to faculty by telling me about all of the different ways I could complete a POE in communication and fill my academic requirements.

I realized that my education was still in my hands. There were so many different classes I could take to fulfill things like a natural science requirement, something that I don’t even have very much interest in to be honest. Since that conversation, I have felt more freedom in designing my academic experience at Juniata because I reached out to someone who, objectively, knows way more about Juniata’s academic curriculum than I do.

My three years at Juniata have taught me how to ask for help and how to accept it. By asking for help I’ve built relationships with kind, intelligent, and loving people who are members of Juniata’s faculty. Juniata’s faculty have so many great connections that they’re willing to use to help their advisees find internships, jobs, and research opportunities. More importantly, they make the connections at Juniata.

It’s wonderful to have faculty who are excited to interact with students, which you’d absolutely be able to see on a campus tour of Juniata. What you can’t see, however, is the group of students who just ate dinner at Dr. Fala’s farm, or the bio students who just came back from the Centre Region Food Pack with Dr. Kimi Grant and Dr. Christopher Grant, or the group of friends who went camping in Dr. Cockett’s backyard.

These are the connections that will get you jobs, but they’re also the connections that will make your Juniata experience one-of-a-kind.