FYAC Staff Spotlight: Eric Light
Posted on October 11, 2017 by Ali Botsis
Mr. Eric Light has been with the FYAC since the beginning and is our technology guru. He has three degrees, one of which was a double major, and is currently working on his doctorate in Educational Leadership at South. He expects to graduate in May 2018! He has three children, two girls (ages 16 and 12) and one boy (age 10). We sat down with Mr. Light to learn more about him, his college experiences, and what led him to South. He also has some great advice to share with current freshman.
Where are you originally from?
I think "from" is a relative term. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around, but I lived in Biloxi, Mississippi for much of my growing-up years, so I guess I'm "from" Biloxi.
What college did you go to, and what did you study?
I went to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for a year and a half at first. I was trying to decide where I wanted to go. Then, I transferred to Southern Mississippi, which is where I had a double major, got a second degree, and then got a master's degree.
Wow, you had three different majors?
Yes. I was originally a Psychology major with a Political Science minor. I took 18 hours most semesters. When I got to my senior year, I had too many classes left for one semester, but not enough for two. So, I decided to double major in Political Science. This plan ended up backfiring on me, though, because my GPA tanked. A year or so after graduating, I went back for a second degree in Social & Rehabilitation Services to get my GPA back up for graduate school.
What was your very first job out of college?
I worked as a psychiatric technician at a psychiatric hospital for two years and while I was working on my second degree.
What brought you to Mobile?
After I got my Master's in Counseling Psychology from Southern Miss, I moved to Mobile and worked at a Methadone clinic in Grand Bay for a year. Then, I moved away to Middle Tennessee and worked in residence life and lived on campus. My oldest daughter was born in Tennessee. Three years later, we moved to Shorter University in Rome, Georgia where I was the director of Resident Life and Judicial Affairs. Later on, we moved back to Mobile to be closer to family. In 2011, I started working at South as an academic advisor for the College of Nursing. In 2015, I transitioned to the FYAC.
What got you interested in becoming an academic advisor?
I never had a decent advisor. I made it through college by figuring it out myself, and I did not do very well, honestly. I wish I had more mentoring and guidance, and that someone asked me about my goals. I worked in mental health for a while, but I wanted to get back to the university setting and help students.
What do you love about advising?
Students are going through a period of growth and discovery, and I enjoy experiencing it with them. It is fun to watch the light bulb come on. It aligns with my counseling background, so I can use those skills.
What tips do you have for current freshman?
Go to class. It is important! Also, understand that the first semester might be easy, but it does not continue like that. During my first semester of college, I remember thinking that I already knew the material, so I did not go to class. I still passed. The next semester was not like that. I took Calculus my second semester because it was the next math in the sequence, I thought I needed it, and I figured it would be easy. It turned out that I did not need it, and my bad habits caught up with me. I made a D. Years later when I was working at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, I retook it just to see if I could do it. I made a B!
What do you like to do for fun when you are not busy at work in the FYAC or working on your doctorate?
I enjoy playing modern board games. My kids play them with me sometimes. When I can get away from Mobile, I like to travel to the mountains and go hiking and whitewater rafting.
What is a random fact about you that few people know?
At every institution I have worked, I happened to be there when a new president took over. Actually, a new president started while I was a student at Southern Miss. I never thought about that until now.