Senior Fellow Yumika Takeshita is a College Advisor at a public school in Manhattan who is passionate about helping her advisees succeed. Her students are mostly low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students.
Yumika found that traditional college advising usually stops when students receive their college decisions. Rarely do college advisors help them transition. What if a student has a problem with your financial aid? Who does a student talk to in order to get mental health treatment? Additionally, the public school Yumika works at is art-focused. About half of their graduates are interested in pursuing art. However, for the half that is not interested in pursuing art, they do not have the resources to navigate other careers.
Talk to your students and listen to their ideas. Usually they have very concrete ideas of what they want, so don’t underestimate them and work with them!
Yumika addressed this gap by organizing a series of after-school workshops that brought in people from her network to talk to her students about their respective fields as well as how to better succeed in them. She also conducted workshops on the different institutional resources available at their colleges so that they would not feel lost on the first day of school.
In Yumika’s words, “As Humanity in Action fellows, we have a lot of privilege and leverage when trying to do good. I would say – definitely use that network! Also I would say that if you are in this kind of field – talk to your students and listen to their ideas. Usually they have very concrete ideas of what they want, so don’t underestimate them and work with them!”