The Bigger Picture Starts With a First Step

My college experience has led me in directions I could have never imagined. From Associated Student Government to Forensics (speech & debate), from internships, to volunteerism, and overall development as a person. But it all started two years ago during a sit-down with my first academic advisor and a person I now have the pleasure to call a friend: Mr. Rick Watts.

I was entirely new to college, and very much needed direction. Deep down, I had an urge to study psychology and work with people, but I couldn’t answer why, and I didn’t know how I was going to get there? This is where Rick comes in. It was one of the busiest days I have ever seen in Academic Advising, I have an idea of what that looks like as I have been there for two years now.

I approached the front desk, and asked to see Rick Watts, the woman who signed me in (who I now know as Stacy), couldn’t help but spread a grin, and now I know why. She informed me that there is a very long wait, especially to see Rick – about three hours, she said. “Would you like to see someone else?”

“No, Rick’s my man,” I replied. She laughed and signed me in.

Surely enough three hours went by, and my name was called, “Rick!” (that’s right, my name is Rick too). I approached Rick’s desk and my first impression was of a very laid back, confident, helpful, sweet man. I still hold that perception today. He didn’t immediately delve into building me a schedule, and then ,moving on to the next student. No, not Rick’s style. I told him I was new to college. He asked me, “What brought you here?” I said I wanted to take the next step in my life. I’ll never forget what he said next, “What are your aspirations?” I have to be honest, I was stumped. Completely baffled, terrified and so unsure of my unsure.

But then it hit me like a bolt of lightning. “Well, my Grandma has a Ph.D. in psychology and I admire her more than anyone in my life, I think I’m interested in psychology too.” That’s when he dropped the big philosophical bomb. Why psychology?

“I think because I like helping people. I always have.”

“Have your friends always confided in you?” he asked. I thought about it, and instantly the answer was yes, my whole life I’ve felt like a self-appointed therapist (little did I know that I needed some therapy… nut back to the story). Yes! I replied. “Then that could very well be your calling, it’s important to find your direction,” he said. “That is the only way to wake up passionate and sure of what you’re doing in life.” I was speechless. But he said, “You first have to become educated to truly understand how the mind works to truly make positive changes in a person’s life.”

My first course – Psychology 101
The conversation continued. “But it’s not just knowing all the theories and doing research,” he said. “You have to see the bigger picture, develop your own ideals and worldviews.”

My second course – Philosophy 101
Again, little did I know how great the calibear of instructors that he had put me in. My philosophy professor was Mr.Walcott. Perhaps one of the most brilliant people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, I consider him the Last Great Philosopher. This guy knows everything about anything to do with the WORLD’S HISTORY, and the philosophies of anyone you can think of.

Dr. Lewis was my Psychology instructor. She was a down to earth, wonderfully sweet, cool, and wickedly smart, and confident women. Perhaps the most enjoyable class I have taken.

Rick Watts knew the direction I wanted and needed, it’s like a sixth sense. My advice to all students is to start a relationship with an advisor as soon as possible, whoever it may be. For me it was Rick Watts. How about you?

Since that day my interest has turned more toward comunications, which opens up many different doors, and introduces you to a whole new genre of people. I can’t wait to talk about that tomorrow!


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