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Q&A with J.J.

An Interview with the Honors College's Coordinator of Academic Advising
Q&A with J.J.

Photo by Stewart Humble

Tell me a bit about yourself. 

My name is Jeremy Joiner. I'm from Ponchatoula, Louisiana. I’m a Gemini. I’m a pretty good speller. I like random trivia … you want me on your team on a board game like Trivial Pursuit or Cranium.

I graduated from LSU in 2004. I was in a five-year plan, but I obtained two degrees — microbiology and psychology minor in chemistry. Thought I wanted to go to medical school and at some point realized it just wasn’t a good fit for me.

Why did you decide that medical school wasn't for you?

I think it’s kind of somewhat typical of honors students or students of high ability. People tell you, 'You are going to do all of these great things. You're going to be President, you're going to be a lawyer, you're going to be a doctor.' You just kind of internalize those things. You think, I'm expected to be these things. But you have to do what makes you happy.

Luckily, I chose to get involved in my undergraduate career. I was an LSU Ambassador for four years, I was on the homecoming committee for 2002 and then I was selected as overall chairperson for homecoming 2003. I was also in one of the University choirs, Schola Cantorum, for seven semesters — I was a bass.  I just love music.

So what are your other hobbies besides singing?

I’m kind of a low-key person. I enjoy LSU football and hanging out with friends. Honestly, I can be a couch potato. I am addicted to reality TV — not the trashy ones. Usually I like the competition shows: Big Brother, Survivor, American Idol, Project Runway. And then I will watch Real Housewives of Atlanta and New Jersey every now and then.

How did you end up working for the Honors College?

One summer, I was the team leader of the orientation leaders, so I really got to see more of the student affairs side of the University. And I began to realize that one can have a career working at a university. It's just one of those jobs that no one ever really talks about … LSU is a place I had come to really connect with over my five years in school, so I wanted to look into some sort of career at LSU. And I've been here for eight years now.

What have you gained from working at the Honors College as an advisor?

Well I started out as an advisor, primarily advising first- and second-year students and also attending a lot of recruiting functions for the Honors College. I did a lot of things with prospective students, but thankfully the Dean is very supportive of providing higher opportunities for employees, so there have been quite a few opportunities for growth. I've been able to plan my own programs, including entire study abroad programs.

What's your favorite part of working with Honors College students?

I certainly love advising students, but I think I like working with the Advocates most. The Advocates were founded by the same person who founded the Ambassadors, so the organizations are very similar in their structure. I was able to I guess bring some of the elements of Ambassadors into the Advocates. We're starting to look at things outside of the French House so that our Advocates can be promoters of both the Honors College and the University. 

[I have also] tried to allow the leaders of the Advocates to have a great deal of decision-making abilities, where they are responsible for this program from start to finish … Of course, I’ll always be here as a resource, but I want to empower students to an extent so they can say, 'I did this.'  It's good training for future leadership roles and teaching them to work as a team.

What would you say to students to encourage them to join Honors College organizations like the Advocates?

There's a lot of different dynamics to that organization. You have the membership level, but then you also have the friendship level. I try to tell students all the time, 'Don't spread yourself too thin.' Pick a few organizations you really like. If you know that you can commit yourself or be an active participant in multiple organizations, then do it. But if you're just joining them to join them, you should reconsider.

I think it's hard for Honors students to pick just one or two organizations, because we're all overachievers and we want to do everything. Hashtag Honors Student Problems. Are you on Twitter?

I am not on Twitter. My friends think I should get on Twitter. I have a Facebook page that I will randomly post to or update. I don’t have a Pinterest page,but if I did, mine would be filled with recipes — especially for cheesecake. 

 

Story by Elizabeth Clausen, LSU Honors College

For more information, contact the Honors College at 225-578-8831.