Each year around March, students begin frantically looking up and scheduling classes for the summer and fall semesters. This is both a hectic and stressful time for students and faculty alike.
Unfortunately, organizing the perfect schedule is a rarity among Auburn students. The process is complicated with holds, summer school and those essential, pre-requisite classes that fill up instantly.
Thankfully, there is a group of men and women - saints, if you will - who offer comfort and guidance throughout the painstaking scheduling process.
Auburn University’s academic advisors are available to students in all 13 colleges year round. Though, scheduling is just a drop in the bucket of the different jobs for advisors. Other responsibilities include registration for Camp War Eagle, evaluating transcripts, credit checks, certifying Veteran’s Affairs students, certifying athletes for eligibility and recruiting.
Chris Huggins is a long-time member of Auburn’s academic advising team and works in the College of Liberal Arts.
She was a speech and language therapy major out of college and worked in the public school system for nine years. However, after moving to Tuscaloosa with her husband, Huggins had trouble getting back into the school system and had to pick up an academic advising job at the University of Alabama.
It took just a short time for her to realize how much she loved being an advisor, and she soon found a permanent advising position here at Auburn University.
“We’re the jack of all trades,” says Huggins, explaining how students are occasionally cut off from their advisors in order to give the advisors time to get everything done.
As soon as one demanding time of the year ends, such as scheduling, the next has already begun. “There’s really no time that we’re not busy,” she says.
Though, between juggling the 700 students she advises and handling her other responsibilities, she wouldn’t change a thing about her job. Like every other devoted advisor at Auburn, Huggins is truly passionate about what she does.
“I am committed to being the advisor I needed in college, but never had,” she says.
For Huggins, her job is about a relationship between student and advisor. She shares experiences with them and wants to show them it’s possible to make it through college even if you’ve made mistakes.
“I never look down on my students if they stub their foot, because I’ve been there,” she shares.
Sadly, Huggins will be retiring in May after many dedicated years to Auburn University and its students. When asked what the most fulfilling part of her job has been she said, “Working with the students. That’s what it’s all about.”
Scheduling classes shouldn’t have to be an agonizing process semester after semester. Auburn’s academic advisors are there to make it easier and are people who genuinely want to help.