Emily Crousore | Writing Contributor
From a young age everyone has different views on what they think their life is going to look like. Some know for a fact which college they want to go to or which career they will pursue. Some pick a major and stick with it, while others take one class and realize that is not the path for them.
For current College of Communication & Information Sciences (C&IS) academic advisor, Jenna Hearing, her path to where she is today is anything but ordinary. However, Hearing has taken what was a difficult time in her life, and turned it into a way to inspire her students and show that it is okay to not always have everything figured out.
Growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Hearing was constantly exposed to the college town living. Although most of her family are Auburn fans at heart, Hearing grew up going to The University of Alabama (UA) tailgates, games, homecoming parades, and more.
Although Auburn was what was expected, Hearing decided to take her own path. Prior to attending a four-year university, Hearing made the decision to attend Shelton State, a community college in Tuscaloosa, to build up scholarship and gain a better understanding of her future.
Her time at Shelton was transformative. Through ambassador work and a close bond with her advisor, Hearing went from feeling unsure about attending college to wanting to pursue higher education. The people she met and those who taught her inspired Hearing to completely alter the course of her envisioned life.
“I changed my major from speech therapy to business and changed my college from Auburn to Bama then went home and told my parents,” Hearing says.
As a student at The University of Alabama, the first of her Auburn-loving family, Hearing thrived at the Culverhouse College of Business and finished with a degree in marketing. As a student she focused on the behind-the-scenes innerworkings of higher education and formed significant relationships with professors. As she continued to learn the environment of higher education, the more she knew it was the field for her. Although she knew it would not be easy, the relationships she would build and the difference she could have on a persons’ life is how Hearing knew she had found what she was meant to do.
As a UA alum, Hearing already knew the work that had to be done to get to where she wanted to be. Hearing worked her way up the professional totem pole, starting as an office associate. From there, Hearing was put into The University of Alabama Online, formerly known as Bama By Distance, where she was able to work with nontraditional adult online learners.
Hearing describes this time in her career quite memorably because she was able to interact with different students with all different motivations.
One story in particular that reminded her of how rewarding her work was comes from a 69-year-old man’s reason for returning to school.
“My oldest student was 69 and he came back to finish his bachelor’s degree to prove to his grandson that it didn’t matter what age you were, you could do it,” Hearing says.
Eventually, Hearing became an academic advisor for C&IS, which is her current position. She has been able to teach a class for the first time this semester. Hearing teaches freshman important information and resources for first-year students not only in C&IS, but on campus as a whole.
“It is so much fun interacting [with freshmen] and watching [freshman] learn stuff for the first time and get out of their shells,” she says.
Hearing hopes to continue her work interacting with students and helping those that used to be in the same position as she once was.
Hearing has continued to work hard and follow her passion to gain the life that she has built. With her determination and outgoing personality, Hearing is sure to continue to pave the way for trendsetters and make C&IS feel like a home. Her dedication to students and excitement to see them thrive allows her impact on UA go above and beyond.
Emily Crousore serves as a writing contributor. Originally from Fishers, Indiana, this is her first year with Alice and she is excited for what the future holds. She is a freshman, majoring in public relations, with hopes to work in the sports or music industry.