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Yolonda Bueford’s Avatar

Yolonda Bueford

Academic Advisor
Higher Education
New York, NY
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Yolonda’s Career Stories

In layperson terms, what do you actually do at work?

At my job, the academic advisors are on appointment basis only. When I get to work I usually have 9am-10am blocked off to do administrative work such as checking and answering my emails, finishing up any notes, planning for the day, etc. By 10am, if my first appointment shows up then we discuss class registration, career/life goals, options, and resources. Sometimes students set up appointments and don't show up so I use the extra time to complete anything else I have to do or help out at the front desk. I love my job because students are so unique and each one comes in with a different story and need. There are common careers such as nursing that many students are interested in so I already keep those resources handy to give to my students. Every now and then a student comes in with a passion for a career that I am not as familiar with such as sonography/diagnostic medical imaging. I find that so interesting since it is outside of the norm and help them to navigate backwards. Although I am an academic advisor I find myself doing a little bit of career counseling as well which I enjoy because I have background experience in it. I usually have lunch around 1pm-2pm and leave by 5pm or 6pm depending on the day. On other days I may have a meeting and that is blocked off on my calendar so it doesn't interfere with student appointments.

Did anyone ever oppose your career plans when you were young or push you in a direction you did not want to go?

Yes, when I was younger my parents wanted me to be a doctor which is a common african household tale. I wanted to make them proud and I knew I was smart so I figured why not. My first semester in college taking Psychology, Chemistry, Biology, Labs, and Statistics I was overwhelmed. It was definitely not like high school and the heavy focus on science made me realize that was not my interest at all. I received a B in biology which made sense because I like it but Chemistry was a killer. My GPA was a 2.7 and I was devastated. I decided I needed to change my major asap or I wouldn't be able to go to Medical School anyway. Back then, I didn't know that you could major in anything if you wanted to go into medicine, law, nursing, etc. So once I changed my major, I decided to pursue Law. Again, I thought I had to be a criminal justice major to pursue law and I didn't like criminal law at all. I ended up majoring in Sociology based on the advice of my advisor because that was what I was excelling in. I was able to graduate in 3 years even after changing my major and mind a million times. I went on to get my Masters in Social Work to pursue a career as an Academic Advisor. Needless to say, my parents are definitely proud. I think sometimes Parents just get nervous that you will not be able to get a job if you pursue certain majors which can be true if you do not have a plan.

What is the most useful piece of career advice you got as a student, and who gave it to you?

My previous supervisor told me to go for my Masters in Social Work instead of School Counseling because it is more broad. He was right.