Northeastern State University Academic Adviser Brian Searcy has served in that capacity for 17 years, and he has come to enjoy working with the students.
Searcy’s journey as an adviser began right after he graduated from NSU, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and a Master of Science. Searcy said he always wanted to work as a teacher, and this career allows him to do that, but in a different way than other teaching jobs.
“An academic adviser helps a student understand the degree requirements and gives them the tools to help be successful in college,” said Searcy.
Searcy specializes in advising students who have not declared their majors yet. His job requirements also include helping students pick their classes and declaring a major later in their college careers. In this area, he mainly focuses on students who are freshmen and sophomores.
This is due to freshmen starting out as undeclared until their third semester. He said a lot of students don’t know what they want to major in, so the usual changes to degree plans also prompt students to see Searcy – at least, until they find their preferred majors.
Searcy said an adviser can be of great value to students, while they are in college. This is due to the changes people go through when starting their continued education journeys.
He is able to help them adjust to the life of a college student and start new habits by discussing the professors’ expectations. Topics such as time management, class priorities, and carving out time to do homework are those Searcy likes to discuss with new students. He said learning that college homework is mainly done outside of the classroom, compared to the high school learning environment, is something new students tend to struggle with.
Being able to discuss and help students figure out their educational journey is very rewarding to Searcy.
One of the hardest things about his job is when struggling students will not take his advice or won’t let him help them, he said.
“If I can make a small impact in someone’s life and help them realize one of their goals, then that is very rewarding to me. I’m not a hero. I just want to help. If I can help another human being in this college environment, then that is my reward,” said Searcy.