Today, for our alumni profile series, we are hearing from Rachel Goodlad, BA ’06. Thank you Rachel for providing such valuable insight into post-college life!
1. What led you to consider pursuing this field of work?
I was a Community Leader for two years while at Baylor. I had a few situations during those years that were life-changing for me. Some of them were extremely positive, like helping students find their passion in life and pursue it with a related major, or having a discussion about what the Bible says about interracial relationships or LGBT issues. Some of them were the kinds of incidents you hope you never have to deal with, including an attempted rape off-campus, and suicidal thoughts by two of my residents. These were the moments that made me really think about the CL position, and how impactful it can be on myself and others. There were multiple conversations I can remember when students were scared to speak with others about personal issues, and sought me out first. I thought, “Who would they speak with if they didn’t have an invested CL?” I used this thought to be even more intentional in my interactions with students at Baylor and other institutions.
As I became more invested, I also had the opportunity to spend more time with professional staff members at Baylor, including Campus Living & Learning administrators and the VP of Student Life, Dub Oliver. One of these relationships in particular I carry with me to this day, and is responsible for getting me in the door for one of the positions I accepted after graduation. I remember having lunch with Dr. Oliver and him asking me if I had considered staying in student affairs after graduation. I wanted the opportunity to impact other students, and started looking into programs and open positions at other institutions. This was a hard decision, as I was a Pre-Law track student with the intention of attending law school after graduation. The impact I saw staff members have at Baylor was undeniable and something I felt I had to pursue myself.
2. What is your educational background?
I received my B.A. at Baylor in 2006 with a Journalism-Public Relations major and a minor in Political Science. I also received my Master’s in Higher Education with an emphasis in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. This Fall, I will begin law school at the University of Houston Law Center.
3. What do you feel has best prepared your for your work?
Life is always the best preparation. Being open to relationships, and empathizing with others has also helped. There have been so many times that I wasn’t sure why I was going through a particular situation in my own life. I end up being thankful for that situation when I can teach others about my experiences or mistakes. Each university I have been part of has given me additional skills in planning, mentoring, counseling, and professionalism.
4. Please take us through a typical day.
The great thing about Student Affairs, is that there is no such thing as a typical day. As an area coordinator, I spent most days hanging out with students, and letting the day take me wherever it might. I would walk around campus with students having conversations about their personal lives, academics, and future goals. At night, I would attend athletic events or other programs on campus with students. My job was to give students additional responsibilities, skills, and opportunities to help them reach those goals. I would plan events for the residents, and attend to incidents when necessary. I have recently transitioned to the administration side of Student Affairs at the University of Houston, and have less student contact as a result. My work now focuses on making processes more efficient for students, and increasing our customer service levels for all of our students, staff, and guests. My day starts with reviewing any incidents or issues that happened the night before at our 24-hour information desks, following up, and forming necessary training as issues arise. I spend most of my time now with full-time staff members to continually improve our services, and putting out fires on a daily basis. I still spend time with students when I can, but it usually comes in the form of solving problems rather than mentoring or having “life conversations” as I have in the past.
5. What is your advice to students interested in pursuing this world of work?
Take full advantage of your time at Baylor! Be open to change and opportunities around you. I came to Baylor knowing I wanted to go to law school, and looking for preparation for that. Instead, I found life changing relationships with students and staff members that changed my life course. I found a career path I didn’t even know existed. I became really close with my one of my faculty members in the Journalism department, Maxey Parrish. Through conversations with him, I was able to work with the Sports Information Department in Baylor Athletics. Through my relationships with that office, I was able to volunteer for the Big 12 Conference at Championship Events. Through that opportunity, I found out about the Master’s program that balanced both of my interests in college athletics administration and student affairs. None of this would’ve been possible without starting that relationship with Maxey. Many staff and faculty members are more than willing to spend time with you if you would only ask. Step outside your comfort zone; it just might change your life!