Written by: Joselyn Barrientos, College Adviser for Southern Wayne High School in Dudley NC
In the spirit of Thanksgiving last week, I wanted to share a few things that I am thankful for when I reflect on my experience so far as the College Adviser at Southern Wayne High School.
There is nothing that really could have prepared me for my first full-time job. I am originally from Mooresville, NC, which is north of Charlotte, and then lived in Raleigh for four years as I attended NC State for my undergraduate degree. I, then, moved to Warsaw, NC and, now, commute 25 minutes to Dudley, where Southern Wayne is located. I was lucky enough to meet two other future advisers, Jasmine and Joy, who were looking to live in the same area as me and wanted to become roommates. Jasmine and Joy are advisers at James Kenan and East Duplin.
Needless to say, small towns are not what I am used to. Along with moving to an unfamiliar place, I moved to a place where I did not know anyone. There have been many times where I have felt isolated, whether it was while I was at work or just at my small house in Warsaw. However, as I reflect on my life, post-graduation, and think about starting a new job in a new town, I feel I have a lot to be thankful for.
Most importantly, I am thankful for my students at Southern Wayne. My students are the reason that I enjoy coming to work everyday. I have loved having the opportunity to work with high school seniors as they prepare to go to college. Recently, students have been receiving acceptance letters and it is so exciting when they come into my classroom to tell me that they have been accepted into college! I am thankful that that is something they want to share with me.
Secondly, I am thankful for my roommates and how they have helped me through this time of transition. Jasmine and Joy have been my friends and it has been so great to be there for each other, as we all moved to place where we did not know anyone. I am thankful to have people to come home to after a long day of working with students. We usually make dinner or go out to eat together. We will also go to each other’s after school events, whether it be a sports game or a FAFSA night. We support each other in the work that we do and it has been great living with people who are doing the same thing that I am doing.
Lastly, I am thankful that I am being exposed to a community and lifestyle different than the one I grew up in. It has been fun getting to be a part of the community here. I was able to vote in Warsaw and see some people from my community vote, as well. The other night, my roommates and I went to a Christmas Tree lighting event in the next town over. There were families drinking hot chocolate, making s’mores, looking at the nativity scene, and Christmas tree. I loved getting to talk to the boy scouts that were there, serving us hot chocolate. It was so nice to feel like a part of the community.
I can, confidently, say that this has been a season of growth for me. I can thank the College Advising Corps for a lot of things, but I will leave it at these three for now. I have really enjoyed my experience as the College Adviser at Southern Wayne High School, so far, despite the challenges. The people I have met through this experience are what are help keep me motivated in my work.