By John Peardon, Special to The Vision
Professors at North Greenville University are getting students ready for next semester, and that means Lara Eller gets to do one of her favorite things: advising.
Eller, who is in her ninth year of teaching at North Greenville, has not forgotten the feelings her students experience when they go to their advising sessions. She admittedly hated working with her advisor during her college tenure and wants things to be different for her students.
“My advisor in college was not a great advisor, so I had to learn how to do things myself. I dreaded advising, and I don’t want my students to feel that way. I want them to look forward to it,” said Eller.
Since becoming a teacher, Eller has learned how to make advising enjoyable for her students, even when she has found some of them to be difficult.
“My students are usually spoiled brats. They usually come in and say, ‘okay what are we doing?’” she said.
Every professor who has been advising for long enough, knows some of the pitfalls that can occur with a student’s schedule. Eller, instead of stressing out over an advisees dilemma, encourages her students to appreciate what they have going for them.
“I like to look at the bright side of a student’s schedule, instead of looking at the rough spots. I don’t think that in my nine years of teaching I have had a schedule that was completely bad. I try to encourage my students to look on the bright side,” said Eller.
Her students know she cares about them and that she is willing to help with any problems they have in their schedule. She has even been known to lend a helping hand to some students whom she does not advise.
“I sometimes have students come to me and I will help prepare a schedule for them if they are intimidated by their actual advisor,” she said.
She also believes it is important for her to stay in touch with her students. When she signs them up for a class, she wants to make sure they are able to pass it.
“I feel like if I register a student for a class, then I feel responsible for helping them get through it. What I sign them up for is my responsibility,” said Eller.
She even admitted to once having a student who was struggling with a specific class, and Eller herself had a one-on-one meeting with the teacher.
She not only loves meeting with her students, but her students like meeting with her. Carlee Colvard, a sophomore, is one of Eller’s advisees and Colvard loves her advising style.
“I am the type of person to stress out when it comes to my schedule, so she is always calming me down and telling me that it is going to be okay. She is more than a professor, she is a friend,” said Colvard.
Colvard also admitted she feels like Eller is very approachable as both a person and as a professor.
“She is very personable. She always welcomes her students into her office,” said Colvard.
Eller loves being able to help students make their schedules and she looks forward to it every semester. She does not ask for gifts, but appreciates it when a student shows his or her appreciation for her work.
“I get paid in gifts. Smiles and colored pictures,” said Eller.