For current student Bailee Raber, pursuing a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) was a natural choice. As an undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University, she was deeply involved with undergraduate admissions which spurred her interest in UConn’s program.
In her assistantship with off-campus student services, Raber advises commuters and other students living off-campus. She empowers her students so they can find their own answers and provides them with the tools to pave their unique paths. Although she can’t change an immediate outcome for a student, she pushes her students forward to achieve personal success.
As a student affairs practitioner, Raber takes self-reflection to heart especially in regards to serving her students in the best way she can. She understands that behavior and self-discovery are huge factors in improving your relationship with your students, as well as with yourself. Raber shares that helping a student, connecting them to resources, or simply providing them with a soundboard where they can freely express themselves, offer the most rewarding experiences. She strives to be a pillar of support to her students and aid in their individualized journeys to success.
Raber urges students to “Connect and vent to others going through the same experience.” She appreciates the friends and mentors who have stuck by her side through the ups and downs and says that the program has been “One of the best things that have ever happened.” Within HESA’s cohort model, Raber has been able to connect with like-minded individuals and create long-lasting friendships. Especially during times of doubt and apprehension, Raber says,
“These people become your family and help you through those more challenging times.”
Despite her busy schedule as a full-time student and working professional, Raber emphasizes the importance of making time for yourself and practicing healthy self-care habits. Hanging out with her dogs, listening to podcasts, and learning about holistic and student development, are only some of the hobbies she enjoys outside of her professional work.
By connecting with people within her practicum, assistantship, and cohort, Raber grows both professionally and individually within her field. As a first-year master’s student, originally from a small town in Ohio, Raber works to acclimate herself to life outside of the Midwest and experience the Northeast for what it has to offer! Some of Raber’s favorite destinations are Not Only Juice, a vegan juicery, as well as CT Valley, one of CT’s most distinguished breweries.
Although “Some days are easier than others,” the supportive students and faculty within her cohort push Raber to treat every day as an opportunity to guide students in a positive direction.