I used to have a job that allowed me to go around saying “I’m a professor” because, well, I was a professor. You know what’s great about being a professor? When you’re meeting someone for the first time and they ask you what you do for a living you can say “I’m a professor” and they know, roughly, what you do for a living (i.e., wear elbow patches and appreciate opera and whatnot).
You know what’s tough about being a Guide at Wayfinding Academy? When you’re meeting someone for the first time and they ask you what you do for a living you say “I’m a Guide” and they think you are some sort of wilderness expert when, in fact, you are totally grossed out by nature and want very little to do with it.
In case you are under the misapprehension that I enjoy going outside even though someone went to all the trouble of building me a house that I am paying a lot of money to live in, allow me to tell you all about what a Guide actually is.
A Guide is something like an academic coach. Each Guide is matched with seven students with whom we will be ideally working for the entirety of the students’ time at Wayfinding. We meet with students one-on-one for 45 minutes every week. Also every week, we have a 90 minute session with all of our students.
The mission of the Guide program is to empower students by giving them the framework, tools, guidance, and support to help them gain self awareness, navigate the program’s academic requirements, build a strong portfolio, make connections, and move towards becoming a self directed lifelong learner.
We cover a lot of life skills, from small to big. Here are some of the things we go into:
- Students’ values, skills, and interests and how they want to apply all of those toward self-fulfillment and service
- How to approach assignments for classes so both the student and the professor are pleased with the learning outcomes
- What platform to build a portfolio on and how to make it representative of the students’ accomplishments and interests
- How to make connections through networking, informational interviews, and other outreach
- Concrete skills like building a resume, effective time management, and setting boundaries.
- Perhaps the most important thing we do is help students grow into being self-directed lifelong learners so that they leave Wayfinding with the ability to find and make their own paths as they and the world grow and change
In short, Guides get to know their students and help advise them so that they can be successful at Wayfinding and hone skills that will contribute to their success beyond Wayfinding.
So now you know what a Guide is. If you ever meet another one, when they say “I am a Guide at Wayfinding Academy” you can respond with a nod that says “Yes. I know what that means because I am a person who knows a great many things”.