I grew up in a small town called Bushnell, Florida and thought that I had three career options: teacher, doctor, or lawyer. I was first in my family to go to college and decided to become a teacher. I got into the education program my Junior year of college and I realized it wasn’t for me. I had no idea there were people on campus that could help me figure out life, so I tried to figure it out on my own. I knew I wanted to make a difference in the world but I had no idea what that meant or how someone like me could make a difference. I often struggled with social anxiety, perfectionism, and low self-confidence, which held me back from trying new things and really investing in my learning. I either didn’t know about opportunities, or when I did, I was too afraid to try them out.
I ended up majoring in Family & Child Sciences and fell in love with Human Development. I met a professor who helped me think through my career options and he helped me get into graduate school. He believed in me and pushed me to dream bigger. At the time, I didn’t know anything about graduate school, outside the medical or law programs. I ended up earning a Master’s degree in Social Work and applied to a PhD program – I did not get accepted. Academically, I had a high GPA, but I did not have strong test scores or real-world experience.
At that same time, I applied to several jobs and started working for Florida State University as an Academic Success Coach. I went to FSU for 6 years (bachelor’s + master’s) and had NO IDEA how many amazing opportunities were offered. I felt like I had missed out.
After working as an academic success coach for 3 years, I worked and lived in Maryland for two years and then applied to PhD programs again. I am so grateful that I did not get accepted that first time. I used every resource, every connection that I could to help me get to where I am now. I published research articles, started the College Life podcast, made meaningful connections and I learned to really use college to help me reach my dreams. My experiences drive me to help college students find direction and build up the confidence they need to make positive change in the world.