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The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Pau Ponders

Four Years, Three Advisories
Pau+Ponders
Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

I’ve had quite a turbulent experience with Upper School advisories. Four years, three advisories…

Freshman year, I was assigned to the former drama teacher’s advisory. Mr. Hildreth led our COVID-19-disrupted advisory the best he could, with “Netflix lunches” as the advisory time norm. I watched and finished countless shows,the sounds of “Stranger Things” continuously rang throughout the year. Unfortunately, I had an emotional connection with too many characters and not too many advisees. That year in advisory was relatively uneventful as the entire advisory was always individually working or watching TV like I was. 

During my first year, I took an English course with the current Head of Upper School and former Upper School English teacher Cory Zeller. My introduction to the English department in Upper School, “Reading and Writing Across Genres”, startled me. I spent the year attempting to analyze the dynamic adventure in “Of Mice and Men” and other books that I honestly can’t remember. However, I also spent the course understanding Ms. Zeller’s pedagogy and nurturing spirit. 

Thus, I decided that I needed to join her advisory. As her advisory was filled with graduating seniors, I had to fight to claim a spot. I spent the remainder of my freshman year advocating for myself and felt relief when I opened my portal on a warm summer day and saw “Cory Zeller” next to my advisory tab. The following two years were filled with an incredible sense of advisory experience. 

I entered Ms. Zeller’s light-filled room on the first day of school to find a gathering of my sophomore classmates and two seniors. 

Though reluctant to embrace their new, as Zeller called it, “babysitting responsibilities,” these two seniors made the advisory feel like home. Their witty jokes, honest advice, and kind souls fueled the success of our group. We ranted–probably way too much–to Ms. Zeller about our little (and sometimes huge) inconveniences. 

Our advisory had a very strange arrangement of people, including all friend groups and interests, yet we made that light-filled room our second home. Ms. Zeller generously stocked her closet with the most delicious snacks one can find, and I will always connect green apple caramel lollipops to her room. Keep an eye out for “Zeller” sweatpants that were supposed to be ordered last year…. They will be making an appearance soon.

In my junior year, the Zeller collective grew to incorporate new members. Now, filled with an entire advisory of 24 students, every member was essentially experiencing the same things. Whether it was the ACT or Advanced Physics, we battled it together. 

Ms. Zeller’s whiteboards became “negative or positive lists,” where we would list all the negative and positive things occurring in our lives. These lists provided a safe space to share our innermost thoughts and feelings that weren’t usually shared in a typical classroom. I know that I am and most of that advisory is eternally grateful for the safe space offered by Ms. Zeller.

This year, Ms. Zeller transitioned to the Head of the Upper School. An incredible feat that I’m sure will elevate the Upper School, but was not so incredible for her former advisees. For the third and hopefully final time, I switched advisories. 

I enter Ms. Abood’s room to find fellow seniors and a group of freshmen. However, now, I transitioned from my role as the awe-filled younger student, to the wise older role model.

Reflecting on my advisory path, I recognize how abnormal it was. Usually, students are assigned to one advisor and maybe, just maybe, switch to a different advisory once. However, from experience, I can tell you a few things.

One: find an advisor who will fight for you. Yes, advisories should be a safe space to share your emotional feelings, but your advisor should fight for you. They should help you through your struggles and advocate for your needs.

Two: find joy in your advisory cohort. You should pick an advisory based on the advisor, not the student collection in that advisory. Thus, you should find joy in your cohort to improve your advisory times.

Three: make sure you relax and engage during advisory. I do this all the time, but don’t just spend your time looking at your phone. Try to connect with your fellow advisees.

To conclude, I don’t really know what a regular advisory “journey” looks like. However I do know that my weird journey, filled with continuous changes, ended up working out exactly how I wanted it to. So, if your advisory experience is not the best right now, as long as you fight for it, I promise it will get better.

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About the Contributor
Pau Maset Josa, Columnist
Pau Maset Josa is super excited to spend his first year on "The Weekly" as a Columnist. After his ponderings, Pau oversees the Yearbook, rants to Ms. Zeller, vocalizes in Grape Jam and makes sure that all trash is thrown in its designated bin.