As an academic advisor, Laura Helen Husband is typically the first point of contact after admissions for hundreds of students in the College of Media and Entertainment.
“I work every day helping students with what classes they’re going to take, where they’re going to go for different resources that we have on campus,” she said of her role.
Like most things on campus, the way Husband advises her students changed this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Meeting with students via Zoom (and by phone) instead of face-to-face has become the new normal. But one thing that hasn’t changed for Husband is supporting the 250 students she helps advise each semester.
“Part of what we’re doing is nothing different at all. We’re still listening to their voice,” she said. “How can we still be their advocate? How can we still be supportive? And it seems to be not that much harder to be that. We may have different avenues in which we’re doing it, but our passion for students is the same; our advocacy and hope for them is the same.”
An important part of Husband’s job is helping students navigate through their college career as successfully as possible and listening when they need to be heard. One of her all-time favorite quotes focuses on just that – listening.
“Be as passionate about listening as you are about being heard; that’s what we need to be doing – we need to listen,” she said. “If you give them a platform to tell you, then you usually get a good response and they feel like they’re being heard. I see resiliency in a large way with our students.”
As Husband works with her students to adjust to the new normal, she said she believes it’ll help them in the future as they continue with their college career.
“I think we may be creating one of the most versatile and resilient communities that we’ve seen in a long time,” she said. “Our role is showing them the possibilities and encouraging them to get to that point. Keep growing, keeping learning and seeing college in a whole new way.”
She said all of her students – ranging from freshmen to seniors – all have different worries and concerns.
“I think it’s affected our freshmen and incoming freshmen in a big way because they have never been on a college campus before, and most of them still have not – they’re at home or they’re here and they don’t quite know how to meet people. We can’t offer the same kind of interactions that we’ve had in the past. My seniors, their biggest stressor is graduation. They want to put on that cap and gown and walk across the stage.”
She continued, “I think surprisingly, even though they have complaints I feel their general attitude is a positive one. They’re trying; they’re all really trying to understand and they do struggle with all these different times for everything… They’re trying to readjust to things that they haven’t had to adjust to before.”
And even when things return to normal, Husband said she’ll probably continue to offer Zoom sessions to students.
“There are some things we’ll still implement after this is over, but I can’t wait for Wednesday Walk-in Days we have where anyone can come in,” she said.
Husband has worked as an academic advisor for the College of Media and Entertainment since the summer of 2018. She works with students in the Recording Industry program, is the only advisor for Commercial Songwriting and sees about half the alphabet from Music Business.