Advising Across Differences: How My Basketball Coach Academic Adviser Helped Me Major In English

During the summer before my first year at Kalamazoo College, I anxiously awaited the different information that was being released through my Hornet Hive account, like who my roommate would be and what dorm we were in, what classes I could take as a freshman, and who my academic adviser would be. As I was preparing to begin college, every new email or letter in the mail I received regarding the upcoming year felt like one more step closer to this new exciting experience.

When I was assigned my academic adviser and found out it was one of the basketball coaches, I was a little taken aback. Being interested in English and Art, I worried that a coach who had an entirely different job and set of responsibilities wouldn’t have time to invest in helping me and wouldn’t be able to lead me in the right direction. As soon as I met Coach Miller, the head women’s basketball coach, all my worries went away. Her super laidback personality made it easy for the five students she was advising to make conversation and get to know her. She was personable and easygoing. After that brief first meeting, we all had to make individual advising appointments to speak about our individual K-Plans.

While Coach Miller realized a lot of those things were fairly far ahead in the future, we talked about what I possibly wanted to major in, what clubs I wanted to be involved in, where I might want to study abroad and what I was most interested in pursuing as a student. Even though Coach Miller wasn’t an English or Art professor, she knew the answers to almost all of my questions and knew when to point me in the direction of someone in the relevant department for questions she didn’t have answers to. What ended up being most important about my relationship with my academic adviser was that she was easy to talk to, someone I felt I could trust and rely on, and that she went above and beyond the required once-a-quarter meeting by emailing me to help with schedule changes, recommend a yoga teacher when I mentioned I was interested in the class, and just generally check up on how things were going. Academic advisers are trained to guide you and help inform you when needed, no matter what subject or activity they themselves are involved in.

-Emiliana Renuart ’20