Opinion: Advisee meetings should take place during family style slots

By: Yvonne Zhou’15
Staff Writer

Family style dinners are a tradition where, biweekly, faculty and boarders dine together in assigned seating.

Served by their peers, students are expected to dress formally, behave with courtesy and participate in the discussions at the tables as they enjoy the meals. Yet with the new change that took place last winter term, some of these dinners are replaced by advisee meetings. This change is a very good approach.

With more advisee meetings, students are able to talk with their advisors more often. Although students do enjoy and are able to take advantage of the low student-faculty ratio, for some advisees it is difficult to communicate with advisors. As students have more seniority, they meet their advisors less, who may have been their dorm supervisors or class teachers much earlier in the student’s career. Also, for those students who have full schedules and are always occupied during DMXs and conference periods, it is even more challenging to find a time where both sides are available, since teachers coach and also attend weekly meetings. With more regular advisee meetings, the chance of students effectively communicating with their advisors increases significantly.

Advisee meetings at dinner time ensure that most students and faculty are available at that time. Indeed, students and faculty are so busy that conflicts always arise when something is scheduled; therefore, dinner time, which would have been compulsory anyway if there was a family style dinner instead, is the perfect time for a meeting. This time slot benefits many students and faculty who do not have spare time during the day.

Moreover, when students are settled for dinner, they are more inclined to talk to their advisors and fellow advisees about their school experience. This is an opportunity for either side to further their understanding of the other. During the normal advisor meetings scheduled during DMXs or the first few days of school, each advisee only is allotted a time slot of five or ten minutes with his or her advisor. It serves difficult for them to expand the conversation to subjects other than academic performance at school. However, when advisees gather around a table at night, they feel encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences within the group and learn more about each other.

“I appreciate the advisee meetings. They were fun and I thought it was an efficient way to talk to my advisor,” Karen Kurniawan ’15 said. “To some degree they were similar to family style dinners, but these meetings were more helpful in bonding advisees together. Before I only knew some [of the girls] as acquaintances- it wasn’t until then that we became friends.”

While family style dinners provide an opportunity to meet and make conversations with new friends, advisee meetings bring advisees and their advisors closer.