Book cover for Connections Are Everything: A College Student's Guide to Relationship-Rich Education by Peter Felten, Leo M. Lambert, Isis Artze-Vega, and Oscar R. Miranda Tapia. An illustration of a female student in graduation cap and gown is surrounded by illustrations of various people (other students, professors, and many other people) -- all these people are connected by lines, forming a network.
Buy in Print

ISBN: 9781421443126

Johns Hopkins University Press, July 2023

Read for free on Project Muse

At many institutions, for  every one professor there are two individuals who work in a non-teaching role—from librarians, technology experts, student life professionals, plumbers, and landscapers, to physical and mental health care professionals, tutors, and office assistants. It takes all of them to make a college run smoothly. And each of these people can be an ally, resource, or mentor for students.

This chapter profiles a few key staff positions that are common at many colleges, offering strategies to connect in ways that will support student success.

Ask Yourself...

  1. Who have been your most important allies, mentors, and advisors in college so far? Has one been a staff member? What sorts of things do you talk about? What are the most important things you have learned from them?
  2. Do you have a job on or off campus? What are you learning from your supervisor? Have you discussed how your supervisor discovered their career?
  3. What one simple step could you take to get to know a staff member (and potential mentor) better?

Try This!

  1. Walk into your college library and ask a librarian about the resources and services available through the library. (While you’re there, hang around. It’s a great place to study and meet people.) Many college librarians teach, and most of them partner with professors to find ways to deepen your learning and teach important skills like information literacy. If you’re a fully online student or not yet ready to talk in person, try chatting with a librarian virtually, whether through a chat function on the library website or by sending a quick email to a librarian.
  2. Check out student support services on your campus website (such as career services, academic advising, counseling services, and financial aid), and make an in-person or online visit to at least one to explore a question or interest.
  3. Schedule some time to talk with your academic advisor so you can get to know each other before planning your next semester’s schedule of classes. It’s helpful for your advisor to know about your interests and goals.