Southern’s Unsung Hero: Andrew Parzyck

Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

After graduating high school, Andrew Parzyck, Communication and First Year Experience (FYE) adjunct lecturer and FYE university assistant, knew he wanted to do one thing: work with students, so he became an education major at Southern in Fall 2005.

Parzyck said after taking some courses, he did not find the major as fulfilling as anticipated, but found solace in a communication 205 course. He enjoyed his professor’s teaching style as well as the content, so he eventually decided to switch his major to communication, focusing on interpersonal relational development.

Parzyck said he also volunteered as an orientation ambassador during his undergrad and was recognized for his strengths in academic advising. That is when his former boss, Linda Sampson, Communication Department chair, directed him to the Office of Academic Advising for a position as a student advisor and in Spring 2007 and was hired on the spot.

During his years as an academic advisor, Parzyck became increasingly attracted to the idea of working in higher education, so he continued his education at Central Connecticut State University for his masters of science in counseling education with a focus in student development.

Parzyck added his motivations were focused towards the education and counseling components for first year students.

“When students are transitioning into college, students have a [crises]. You have to work with students: you have to work as a counselor, but also you are teaching at that point too,” said Parzyck. “I never left education, I just redirected my education ability.”

While completing his master’s, Parzyck assisted a creative inquiry course with Sampson, which was his first experience teaching freshman and with an FYE seminar. He went on to assist Nicole Henderson, FYE academic director and English professor, in mock classes over the summer and was told upon completing his masters, she would hire him.

Parzyck graduated in May 2011 with his masters and began teaching in August and was offered a full time teaching position for the next two years.

After over two years teaching, Parzyck became burnt out and felt as though he needed to “take a step back and explore more opportunities.” Then a friend told him about an opportunity as a flight attendant, which was something he always wanted to explore.

“One of the biggest things that have always told my students is to dream, explore, go with your gut, and figure it out,” said Parzyck. “I thought I would be kind of a hypocrite if I didn’t do it. So I’m practicing what I’m preaching.”

Parzyck began his seven-week training in January 2014 and started working in March as a flight attendant and in peer support for Delta Airlines. He said life in the air gave him the perspective he needed outside of the classroom.

“When students tell me, ‘I couldn’t do this because I was working late,’ I get that,” said Parzyck. “If they’re stuck in traffic, they are delayed. There’s lots of delays on the airplane. It’s a different thing but it’s relevant at the same time.”

Parzyck returned to Southern in Fall 2015 upon realizing he could fly on the weekends and teach on the weekdays. He thinks it is fun how his students often, curiously email him, “where did you go to this weekend?”

Parzyck said his favorite place to visit domestically is Asheville, North Carolina because of the hills, the culture, and the people, as well as Portland, Maine because of the “beautiful” shoreline. Internationally, Parzyck said he enjoys Nice, France as well as Madrid.

Parzyck said he wants students to know that even if he is not on the ground he is always here for them and, when it comes to advising, there is no one better for the job then yourself. It is valuable to have many different advisors, with varying perspectives, but merging those into something that more suitable for the student is what is important.

Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

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