• Alicia Sepulveda

Where I've been

A few things you need to know about me if you want to be friends!

I am originally from a small town in central Florida. It was fine growing up, but I won't be moving back.

I was first generation to go to college and graduate. My family has always valued education and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity.

I went to college at Florida State University. It was hard. It was awesome. And it changed my life.

I met a professor there, Dr. Murray Krantz, who completely challenged what I thought I was capable of. He helped me understand what graduate school was, and he helped me get there. He is a huge reason why I am doing what I am doing.

I met a man in middle school name Carlos, who ended up being my forever partner and husband. We started dating my senior year of college and I feel incredibly grateful to get to go through life with him.

I earned my Bachelor's degree in Family and Child Sciences and my Master's degree in Social Work. I am not in either field, but they have helped prepare me for things I didn't know I needed preparation for. It helped me learn that Plan E was way better than Plan A and I didn't know Plan E was even possible (in fact, my current job did not exist when I was in college, something you should consider if you are a current college student).

I worked as an academic success coach at Florida State University for 3 years. During this time, my confidence in what I was capable of started to grow. I had an incredible supervisor (shout out, Linda!) who told me what my strengths were, at a time when I didn't realize I had any. She helped me grow as a coach, as a professional, and most importantly, as a person. Just another amazing human who helped me start becoming the person I always wanted to be.

I did a marathon and I never identified as a runner. It wasn't pretty and I'll never do it again. But real talk. When I hear how only 1% of the population has done something, I decide I want to be part of that 1%. I am still working on believing in myself, but regardless, I'm going to keep pushing boundaries to find out what is possible for me.

Right before, and during my time as an academic success coach, I applied to PhD programs twice. I didn't get in either time. It didn't feel great, because I already questioned my intelligence. It wasn't until later that I realized, again, my Plan A and Plan B weren't my best options. It's just what I saw at the time.

I got a cute little pup, Tucker during that time. Is it weird that I think of him as my best friend?!

I got married to Carlos, surrounded by our family and friends.

We moved to Maryland so Carlos could start his Master's degree. I was told that I would have no problem finding a job. I started applying in March, quit my job in Florida in June, and did not get a job offer until August. I worked at a liquor store/wine shop for a couple months full time. I did get some free wine.

I then started working at a non-profit, college access organization in the DC area. I worked with students who were first generation, low-income, minority, and immigrants. It was awesome. I met so many amazing people who were my colleagues and friends, as well as students. I learned how messages that colleges send to students don't always translate, or even reach the students they are sending them to. I worked for the student, and not the college, which I believe gives me an interesting perspective on the higher education system. We have hella work to do.

I worked for that organization for 2 years, and then applied to PhD programs across the country. Carlos and I didn't get to travel a lot growing up, so we used education as a way to travel. I ended up visiting University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO and it felt like a perfect fit. Weirds things fell perfectly into place. I got an assistantship working in coaching and doing research (I told myself I wouldn't go to get my PhD unless I got it paid for, and you shouldn't go to graduate school without it paid for, either). Check out the podcast episode I did about it. I already had $40,000 in student loan debt, which I was already paying off. I was not about to take out more loans.

We moved from Maryland to Colorado and it was unreal. Carlos ended up getting a Hall Director position at University of Colorado, Boulder, which was an hour away from my school. I was a full-time student, taking 3 classes each semester. I commuted what ended up being 75 minutes each way, 4 days a week. I worked in an office that was SO FUN. I had a great supervisor who I now call a dear friend.

During my time as a PhD student, I was able to publish 2 articles related to coaching in higher education.

Sepulveda, A., Birnbaum, M., Finley, J. B., & Frye, S. (2019). Coaching college students who have expressed an interest in leaving: A pilot study. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 1-8.

Sepulveda, A. (2017). Exploring the roles and responsibilities of academic coaches in higher education. Journal of Student Affairs, 26, 69.

I started a podcast for college students called the College Life podcast - It's available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google.

I had the idea for the podcast while I was commuting and listening to a research project where I interviewed current college students about their passions, purpose, and goals. To this day, I am so grateful for that commute.

I've traveled more than I ever dreamed. In college I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip of sorts to Nicaragua. It was actually a very weird trip, but I still learned from it. After college, I went on a trip with my friend, Amanda. We visited Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Since I've been married I've been to Mexico, Grand Caymans, Hong Kong, England, France, and Greece again. My favorite places so far have been Greece and Hong Kong, in case you were wondering.

I did a mini talk (kind of Ted Talk-ish). I had a friend record me. It was literally 5 minutes and I messed up in the middle and looked like a deer in headlights. Not good. But my message was about finding out what is possible. So it ended up working and will likely be something I talk about in my next Ted Talk. I'll share when it happens!

I started lifting weights in 2015. For the first time in my life, I started to gain confidence. I think it was some self-work, and self-awareness, in addition to the lifting. I've used different programs over the past few years and really enjoy my time in the gym.

I've had a hard time building deep and meaningful friendships and when I do, I don't do a great job keeping up with people. But I also think others don't either with the exception of a couple of friends. Sometimes I think I'm weird. Sometimes I think everyone else is weird. But most of the time, I just think making friends is hard. It takes time. And a lot of vulnerability.

I've had some shit in my life, but overall, my life has been really freaking amazing. I used to think I was going to die young (I have no idea where that came from, but it has always been there). Now that I am over 30, I don't care anymore. I've already done more than I ever thought was possible. Everything else is EXTRA.

If you want to know where I am at now, and my vision for the future, make sure to stay connected with the blog.

Sending you love, positive energy, and the reminder that you are capable of more than you think.


#college #collegegraduate #firstgeneration #fsu #floridastateuniversity #academiccoach #lifecoach #studentloandebt #coachinginHE

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