How rewarding is it to work with students in the parks, recreation and sport degree program?
Working with the parks, recreation and sport (PRS) students over the years has been very rewarding. Advising the students from start to finish, I can understand their pathway through college, celebrate their accomplishments and assist them through their struggles. Each graduation ceremony is bittersweet as my students are leaving but they have reached their academic goal. Of course, there are overwhelming days where it seems like all 300 of my students are emailing or stopping in, but at the end of the day, every student is unique and that quick email supported them in a time of need, which is what matters.
How do you assist those students throughout their academic journey?
From their initial meeting at summer welcome, I begin advising with learning their background and what they want to accomplish during their time at Mizzou, whether personally or professionally. Through open-ended questions, I provide resources, give course suggestions, and remind them of deadlines and events. Every day brings something new, so I start my morning with just being present and prepared to listen. From my own knowledge being a PRS/T (back then Tourism was in the title) alum, to working as an internship coordinator, to working as the advisor, I have found best practices in connecting students to what they need. However, I always learn something new from my students and look for ways to improve.
What advice would you give to high school students who are interested in pursuing a degree in parks, recreation and sport?
I have three pieces of advice. One is to visit the schools you are interested in to speak with faculty or an advisor in the program and get a feel for your potential academic home. Being in the atmosphere (if possible) and seeing what the school provides can help with deciding your best fit. For example, students who visits CAFNR for parks, recreation and sport get to speak with me or a faculty member during their visit to learn more about the major and opportunities! Two, there are so many career paths within the parks, recreation, sport and tourism industries! If you have a career goal, that is great, but arrive with an open mind to all the possibilities. Your future job may not exist yet! Finally, number three, get to know your faculty. They have experience in the industry and want to work with students. They may seem intimidating, but they are people, too!
What is your favorite part of serving as an academic advisor for the parks, recreation and sport degree program?
I think my favorite part would be that each day is different. In my office, a student will stop by to talk about the internship they just got, then another student right after needing to work through time management strategies, and I like that daily change of pace. My door is always open for students, faculty and staff to talk about the good, the bad and everything in between! It doesn’t hurt that parks, recreation and sport conversations can revolve around how the St. Louis Blues hockey team played that night or what tourism company is hiring. My students are pursuing exciting adventures, realizing who they are, finding ways to overcome challenges and I look forward to what the day may bring to support the journey to their goals!