Alumnus, Academic Advisor Gives Back To “Institution That Gave So Much To Me”
College is incredibly exciting, but can also be difficult to navigate.
Polk State College’s academic advisors make huge differences in the lives of students every day, not only by ensuring that they enroll in the appropriate courses and stay on track to achieving their degrees. They also engage in meaningful conversations with students and assist them in figuring out the education and career pathways that are right for them.
Polk State News recently caught up with Deonte Washington – a Polk State alumnus whose own experiences with academic advising as a student inspired him to return to the College as an academic advisor on the Lakeland Campus.
“The advising services I received here at Polk State College led me to the position I am in today,” Washington said. “The positive energy and the great feedback I received as a student from academic advisors encouraged me to give back to an institution that gave so much to me.”
Below, Washington shares the benefits of academic advising and his passion for helping students through their higher-education journeys.
What type of support do you provide students as an academic advisor?
I provide support on numerous levels for students. I walk students through academic and career goals in addition to any process that they do not understand, such as online registration, navigating PASSPORT, checking and reviewing their degree audits, building educational plans, assessing their student email, and applying for graduation.
The best support that I provide to any student is encouraging them when they are at the point of no return. Students want to be heard and I give them the opportunity to voice their concerns in my office. My office is a stress-free environment for students and it is always filled with positive energy. This was the same support that I received when I attended school here at Polk State.
Why would you encourage students to utilize academic advising services?
“The positive energy and the great feedback I received as a student from academic advisors encouraged me to give back to an institution that gave so much to me,” Washington said.
Every student should utilize academic advising because advisors are here to guide and help students reach their path to success.
We understand the constant battle that students go through trying to balance school, work, and life in general. Success can be a tough journey to tackle by yourself as a student, so I took advantage of academic advising to help navigate my path. This made it easier to achieve my goals as a student.
Advising services led me to the position I am in today. The positive energy and the great feedback I received as a student from academic advisors encouraged me to give back to an institution that gave so much to me.
How do you keep students engaged in their academic planning process and motivate them to see their educational goals through?
Our current generation of students wants to know what’s in it for them, but who wouldn’t want to know what’s in it for them? I work very hard for each student that I encounter to look at the bigger picture. When students see the bigger picture, their paths become a lot easier to navigate.
Students love to be heard and that’s how I keep them engaged. But you have to open up with your students as well, because they look at us, advisors, as role models. I tell them about my college endeavors and obstacles I had to overcome. My challenges made me who I am today and I express that to all of my students. This provides them with that motivational push to achieve and accomplish whatever they want to.
Every student has a dream and, as an academic advisor, it is my job to assist them in making that dream come true.
Why did you choose a career in higher education?
I chose a career in higher education to give back to Polk State.
Polk State is a great institution for higher education. It is where I earned my Associate in Arts degree in 2013 and my Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision Management with a concentration in Business Administration in 2015.
While attending Polk State, I learned the PASSPORT system and how to navigate it pretty quickly, which allowed me to help my friends look over their own degree audits and plan out their courses. Polk State College gave me that family-friendly environment where I could see myself working.
“Every student has a dream and, as an academic advisor, it is my job to assist them in making that dream come true,” Washington said.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the job?
Outside of work, I value family time and working on new business ventures. I also stay active in sports, along with drawing and painting.
The advising staff provides assistance to enrolled and prospective students in making educational and career decisions. To contact an academic advisor by phone, call 863.297.1010, and then key in the appropriate extension when prompted. You may also reach an academic advisor by calling the Polk State Switchboard at 863.297.1000, and then requesting the appropriate extension number.