It Only Lasted 4 Weeks (little long, but thanks for reading)

Lowspeid

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I posted several months back about how much anxiety and stress I was experiencing as a middle school PE teacher. I really appreciate all the great advice from everyone here on the forum. Trauma from childhood and the military were bubbling up pretty bad the last couple years, and I needed OUT of that environment. Ultimately I decided that I needed to step away from teaching as my mental and emotional health had deteriorated to never before felt lows.

College is about the only place I've felt really successful, so I found a job at my Alma Mater as an academic advisor. As expected I was stressed about moving my family to a new (old) state, again, but I was excited about the opportunity to help college students learn the skills needed to be successful in college. Having been a non-traditional college student; Married, A veteran, and a first generation student I felt well equipped to help students navigate the demands of college academics and life. I also believed that working with college students would be less stressful that working with middle school students. I was wrong.

My first day on the job I realized I'd made a terrible mistake. Academic advising has NOTHING to do with helping students learn and develop skills to be successful at college and life. It is simply moving "digital paper from one box to the next". You meet with undergrad students and tell them what classes to take. You then follow up with them when they screw up and clean up their messes while being thrown under the bus for their messes. I found out on day two that the college I was assigned to advise has the highest turnover due to burnout of any advisor position on campus. The last 2 didn't last 6 months. I beat them both.

Within a couple days I started to really struggle with all my mental/emotional burnout on the job. My wife was getting pretty worried for me, and wanted me to quit. My best friend who is also an elder in our church advised me to listen to my wife. Another friend who is a pastor that I highly respect and trust told me I need to step away for a season to get healthy. I called my VA psych, and he told me to step away. He reminded me that if I don't remove some of the key stressors I'll never get healthy (If anyone knows the VA they always tell you to keep working). I was still unsure what to do. My wife and I prayed all night Tuesday. I really didn't sleep much at all.

I walked into my bosses office on Wednesday for our weekly meeting without having my mind made up whether I would quit or keep going. I told her what was going on, how I was feeling, and how much I've been struggling. She advised me to walk away, and she told me that it's actually pretty common for academic advisors to leave within the first month. It's possibly the highest turnover/highest burnout position in higher education according to some sources. I gave her my two weeks, but since I haven't been assigned any students I was told I could finish the week then call it all good.

So today is my last day as an academic advisor. I have the ability so I'm going to take a couple months off and heal up. I have a good support system around me, and I've reached out to a therapist that specializes in EMDR. God willing, by His grace I'll improve to the point I can go back to teaching. I really do love teaching PE (just not in a middle school). If not, I'll move on to something else that is meaningful and gainful.

I made a mistake in taking this job, but I didn't make a mistake in moving my family back to a state we love and community we enjoy. Quitting might prove to be a mistake, but only time will tell.

Why am I telling this to a bunch of strangers on the internet? Catharsis. Commiserate. Community.
 

uriah1

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Perhaps at a smaller school you would be more hands on. Ask
Wish you well !!
I am in part time academia land.
 

guitarsophist

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I am a retired professor and I have done quite a bit of academic advising in my department. The problems the students brought to my office were usually not entirely academic. I heard a lot of stories about bad jobs, bad relationships, parental pressure, harassment, poor decision-making, etc. I even encountered kids who wanted to be musicians but their parents were making them study engineering, or kids who had flunked out of engineering and been told that the only major they were smart enough to complete was English. I always had a big box of Kleenex in my office.

If you yourself are struggling with some issues, it is probably too much to deal with all of this. You probably made the right decision.

The other factor is that the requirements for a degree, especially if you are dealing with transfer students, can be complicated and it takes a while to learn them, certainly more than a few days. This is stressful because if you tell the student to take the wrong classes, it can cause them a lot of problems. Starting out, it is like the blind leading the blind. I used to bug the department secretary with questions all the time. After a while, you get the hang of it and you feel like you are really helping.
 

hdvades

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Never second guess, you're doin' the right thing. You have a great support base...that makes a world of difference. Someone near and dear to me suffers from childhood trauma PDSD. I've never heard of this EMDR. I hope it works you. I am going to mention it to my someone.
 

buster poser

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Hey, you tried! Teddy’s “man in the ring” and all that, it ain’t nothing.

Take it easy on yourself, rest up, and happy job hunting on the other side of it.
 

burntfrijoles

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Hang in there. ”You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” You made the right decision.

Twenty seven years ago I walked away from a job. The company offered me a bonus to stay on until they found a replacement but I turned it down. I was too stressed out and burned out. It worked out great for me. I took time off and was ready to go for my next career move. I stayed at my new job until I retired.
 

Lowspeid

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Hang in there. ”You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” You made the right decision.

Twenty seven years ago I walked away from a job. The company offered me a bonus to stay on until they found a replacement but I turned it down. I was too stressed out and burned out. It worked out great for me. I took time off and was ready to go for my next career move. I stayed at my new job until I retired.
Thank you. That's what I'm hoping and praying for.
 

bgmacaw

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It's driven me before and it seems to be the way
That everyone else gets around
But lately I'm beginning to find that when
I drive myself my light is found
Whatever tomorrow brings I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings
I'll be there I'll be there


 

P-Nutz

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I feel your pain, as I literally just retired from almost 30 years in the public schools; 20 as a high school publications adviser, the last 10 as a middle school administrator.

My new job? Job/internship placement and academic advising at a local private university in their school of journalism. I'll let you know how it goes ...
 

telleutelleme

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Why not try looking at on-boarding with a not-for-profit education foundation? I am sure there are ones in your area that would value someone with your skills. They are truly trying to help students often guiding them through educational pathways leading to good jobs. Some actually place student advisors on-campus to help students under grants or scholarships.

Whatever your next choice, best of luck and as others have said, prayers for you and your family.
 




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