Marty Taylor (Linguistics)
I originally came to Pitt pursuing Computer Science as a major, but a few classes in I decided that wasn't the best path for me. Ever since high school I had been very interested in linguistics, but I was hesitant to change my path due to the large stigma around doing so. My advisor largely dispelled that stigma for me; she made me realize that it was okay to study what I wanted to study, even if it wasn't why I came to Pitt.
My advisor and I saw eye to eye on a lot of things, and she helped me figure out what it was that I really wanted to do at Pitt. She was very good at synthesizing: putting ideas of classes to take together, helping me craft schedules, even teaching me better time management skills. In her I found a person that I was comfortable being frank with, concerning how I was doing in classes, or how my future was changing rapidly before me. I got a solid path ahead of me from her, and it was good to have that starting at the very beginning.
I always tell new students to not worry about lacking a concrete future plan. The advisors (both individually, and as a whole) have an incredible amount of experience in helping students, and they have deep feelings for what fits students well. While students, of course, wield total control over their academic careers, the advice given by professional advisors is meant to help and guide them to something that fits them well. Thus, I would tell new students to not worry about having a concrete plan or not—things will be sorted out in time.
There's this concept that university offices are cold and bureaucratic, but this is so much the opposite of the Advising Center. Having worked with the Advising Center for more than two years, I know that the advisors really care deeply about what is best for the student, and I think this matters most to me. The advisors are all very genuine and caring, and I think that's especially important for a position such as theirs.