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Helping students chase their dreams
AdviseMI AmeriCorps member helps students chase their dreams
By: Rachel Tallon-AdviseMI
My name is Rachel Tallon, and I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps member for AdviseMI. The goal of my AmeriCorps program is to increase the number of high school students who enter and complete postsecondary education. We serve in high schools that serve a significant number of low-income and first-generation college going students. I have been serving for 17 months at Bullock Creek High School in Midland.
As a college adviser, I have had several students share plans that I know other adults have expressed concern about. Instead of discouraging these students, I choose to help them with their plan and provide a college-going alternative. When I first met with this student, she didn't want to share her plans with me. She'd told her plans to several adults and they all had scolded her and discouraged her. After assuring her that I wouldn't, she shared she wasn't sure if she would attend college. After high school, she planned to move to a small town, hours away, in order to live with her long-distance boyfriend. In that moment, I knew exactly what all of the other adults had said to her.
Instead of discouraging her, I asked what she would study if she went to college. Eventually, she shared that she was a dancer who wanted to open her own dance studio. I helped her create a plan that allowed her to live with her boyfriend and study business via a local community college or online college. However, I also talked to her about Oakland University. At Oakland University, she would qualify for several scholarships, could major in Dance and minor in Entrepreneurship, and thrive in the great on-campus community. She agreed to look into Oakland University while taking steps towards the plan we'd made. At the end of our meeting, I told my student that if her boyfriend really was "the one", then he should support her through whatever path she needed to succeed. She thought on it a moment before nodding her head.
Over the next couple of months, I helped the student complete applications to community colleges, online colleges, and Oakland University. I watched as she met with the Oakland University admissions representative. I listened as she told me about how she loved the campus when she toured Oakland University. When she told me that she planned to enroll at Oakland University to study dance and entrepreneurship, both of us were grinning from ear-to-ear. Neither of us said an "I told you so", but I know that we were both thrilled to have been heard by one another.