I drank the Collegewise Koolaid well before my first interview. Reading the position description, the employee handbook, and staff bios online convinced me that I had to be a Wiser. However, I should have remembered the advice I tell my students who are eagerly preparing for their transition to college: your excitement isn’t going to make everything immediately perfect.
That glorious, sunny weather you focused your entire college search on might feel a bit less glorious when you have to go to your first day of classes with a scalding sunburn. Flying 1,000 miles from home may feel a little less thrilling when you get your first cold and all you really want is your grandma’s chicken soup.
Acclimating to a new community and a new way of doing things is hard. I don’t think I can fully prepare you for the transition to Collegewise with one blog post – where’d the fun be in that, anyway? – but I will share five things I wish I had known, and, more importantly, how I reframed my thinking in order to manage in the first few months and thrive in the months after.
- Everyone at Collegewise is “the best” at something, and sometimes they’re the best at multiple things. Talent, brilliance, experience, big personality, and sharp wit soars out of Wisers like the Flying Monkeys out of Oz. It can be intimidating. But on the other side of the perspective coin, you’ll find inspiration and support. You are encouraged to greedily use the greatness of others. In turn, your strengths and unique contributions are championed. We call it the Hive Mind, and it makes us all the best.
- From the get-go, Collegewise has been fueled by ideas and initiative. That means, from the get-go of your career as a Wiser, you’ll also be expected to contribute ideas and show initiative. Sure, there’s a lot of grace for “the newbies,” but there’s also endless opportunities to learn through doing. Don’t be shy to jump in. You’ll be recognized for your effort.
- Change is going to happen, and it’s going to happen quickly. Whether you’ve been around one day or 1,000 days, the company keeps moving. The rate at which new programs, structures, policies, etc. are announced can be unnerving, especially for a new person, but find solace in the transparency of Collegewise leadership. You will be presented with multiple formats in which to ask questions and voice concerns when a change comes. Treat these opportunities as part of your training. As a new Wiser, you might not fully comprehend how these changes will impact you and your work. Eventually though, you’ll be grateful to have learned and engaged at the outset.
- The biggest and hardest adjustment I had to make in my new position was how to slow down and actually find balance with my work. If you’re coming from a grind-it-out environment (most of us are, right?), it’s a mind-trip trying to reset your brain back to normal expectations. You can’t possibly have this much time to actually think, learn, BREATHE! At Collegewise, they mean it when they say they trust you. That means having autonomy over your schedule and no micromanagement. Don’t fight it – enjoy it! And know that you’re going to do better work because you’re choosing to grind, not because there’s no other option to survive.
- Rounding out the list with a little cheesiness – bear with me. I don’t remember the last time I was able to sincerely say work was FUN. Sure, I found moments of fulfillment and had work friends in previous positions. But I had lost the genuine excitement of waking up to go to work. That’s really a thing! You’ll feel it too when you find yourself chuckling after a student meeting about how lucky you are to play a small role in this weird, angsty, exciting time in their life or when the genuine props come through on Slack for a project you and a team of fellow Wisers just completed.
To bring it full circle back to advice I give my students who are heading off to college: you’ve done your research and self-reflection. You’re wanted and viewed as an important addition to the community. Be patient. You’ll find your people, grow and adapt through new experiences and challenges, and have so much fun along the way! Welcome to Collegewise.
With more than twenty years of experience, Collegewise counselors and tutors are at the forefront of the ever-evolving admissions landscape. Our work has always centered on you: the student. And just like we’ve always done, we look for ways for you to be your best self - whether it’s in the classroom, in your applications or in the right-fit college environment. Our range of tools include counseling, test prep, academic tutoring, and essay management, all with the support of our proprietary platform, lead to a 4x higher than average admissions rates.