As I leave behind my final winter term and transition into the much-anticipated “senior spring mode,” I find myself spending more and more time reflecting on the people and aspects of Exeter that have gotten me to this point. Immediately, I think of my adviser, Ms. Joanne Lembo.
Every new student at Exeter is appointed a faculty adviser. Advisers meet with their advisees weekly to check in, answer any questions and discuss current events both on and off campus. Students can meet individually with their advisers as necessary. According to the E-book, Exeter’s big book of rules and policies, “students are encouraged to consult their advisers both on school affairs and on personal issues. Through communication with the advisees’ parents, the adviser supplies an essential link between family and school.” This drastically undersells the importance of the adviser-advisee relationship — certainly in my case.
Advisers fill the absence of parents, guide students through their time at PEA and provide help and support in any way necessary. Advisers typically live in the same dorm as their advisees, making them even more accessible to students and strengthening the bond between the two. The adviser-advisee relationship ensures that every student has an adult on campus with whom they feel comfortable.
My adviser, Ms. Lembo, has been extraordinary. She often goes above and beyond the requirements outlined in the E-book. From the moment I stepped on campus, Ms. Lembo has been the first person I’ve turned to with questions or concerns. I text Ms. Lembo at least three times a week (probably a few more than necessary), and she always responds immediately with solutions. She and my mom communicate weekly as well, and Ms. Lembo offers updates and answers any questions my mom might have.
Last year, when I complained about missing my town’s Mardi Gras (a big deal in my Louisiana hometown), Ms. Lembo and her wife planned a Mardi Gras celebration in her apartment for the entire dorm. We replicated the celebration this year, and Ms. Lembo surprised (and amazed) me by baking homemade king cakes.
This little reminder of home meant more to me than she will ever know.
Recently, when a health scare required that I be admitted to Children’s Hospital in Boston, she dropped everything, drove me and stayed until I was settled in a room at 11 p.m. The entire time I was in the hospital, Ms. Lembo worked with my teachers and the deans, making sure I could transition back into classes easily after a week off campus. I could never thank Ms. Lembo enough for everything she did for me during this time.
The adviser-advisee at Exeter is a special one. Ms. Lembo and her wife and daughter welcomed me into their home and became my family at Exeter. I am forever grateful for Ms. Lembo and her family. The relationship we formed will last long past graduation.
P.S: I hope everyone had a fantastic Mardi Gras (I celebrated twice!!).