By Breanna Baucum
“When you step out of your comfort zone, the next risk will feel easier and you may find yourself stepping up to something you hadn't imagined for yourself.”
I credit Edinboro for my success working in higher education. My campus involvements, the relationships I formed and the two degrees I earned prepared me for my future. Edinboro gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and to step up and lead. I considered transferring from Edinboro, but some special faculty, friends and staff changed my mind. When I realized that I wasn't going to reach my goal of teaching early childhood education, they helped me see a path forward, putting my strengths to use in a new major. Their dedication to my success and the feeling of family that they created for me at Edinboro is what kept me there.
During graduate school, I built on my experience as an undergraduate RA and got a job working part-time in Housing and Residence Life at Penn State Behrend as a residence life coordinator. That led to a full-time job upon graduation with my master's degree in College Counseling (2016). Through this program, I was able to learn how to better serve my students through the skills of active listening, self-awareness, and empathy. I have since moved to Alabama, where I continued my Housing and Residence Life experience and recently transitioned to a brand new role at the University of Alabama in Huntsville under the provost's office called the Academic Success Advocacy Program. In this role, I help students realize their goal of graduating and work with them on study tips, time management, getting students involved, and applying all the same things that the people of Edinboro did for me.
I still keep in touch with my Edinboro friends to this day; all five of my bridesmaids (my sister, three ZTA sorority sisters, and my best friend since seventh grade) are Edinboro alumni.
For current students, my advice is to take a chance and get involved. When you step out of your comfort zone, the next risk will feel easier and you may find yourself stepping up to something you hadn't imagined for yourself. Take advantage of all the resources the university has to offer and know how much your Edinboro family cares about your success.