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Members In the News, NSLS Member Spotlight, NSLS Success Stories, Leadership Development

Outstanding Graduate Finds Joy in the Struggle

We recently featured Bailey Austin in our January Members in the News. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette member had just been recognized as an Outstanding Graduate for the College of Education.

She earned this honor through strong academics and leadership skills, as demonstrated as captain of the water ski team and representative on the National Collegiate Water Ski Association's Athletic Advisory Committee, leading the Ragin' Cajuns to their eighth national title.

Her volunteer experience includes leading the water ski team's “Stuff the Boat” Veterans Drive, the university's “Get on Board Day” to bolster student engagement on campus, and hurricane clean-up efforts. She did all of this while maintaining a 3.97 GPA as a kinesiology major with a concentration in pre-professional studies. 

When asked about the steps she took to achieve this top honor, she said staying focused on the process was more important than having her eyes set on any award or recognition. 

“Winning the award for Outstanding Graduate was never the goal for me. I focused on being a dedicated student, athlete, and team captain.”

Embrace the Process and Remember to Have Fun

If the goal is to be recognized as the most outstanding student, you can easily lose sight of what it takes to get there. Bailey understood that and the recognition followed.

“I wanted to graduate with the best GPA I could, win as many titles as possible, and have a great time with my team. Winning this award was truly the cherry on top.”

It's easy to forget to have fun. Being passionate is the first step to success and after that, realistic goal-setting and self-awareness is key. Staying organized and having the tenacity to continue to push forward were other skills that Bailey leaned on. 

“Time management and self-motivation were the most important skills that got me through my undergraduate degree. With so many tasks in and out of the classroom, staying motivated and organized was essential.” 

It also helps to have someone to lean on for support. For Bailey, that was her fellow team captain, Allie Moodie. 

“We took on a lot of challenges together while completing rigorous coursework, and we motivated each other to keep working hard. She always helped me find joy in our struggles. I am so grateful to have her as a friend and co-captain.”

To find joy in tough times is to remind yourself of your goals and the steps you're taking to become a stronger leader, and Bailey knows just how important it is. She recalled her coach telling her, "Nothing done with effort is a waste," which is a great lesson in always seeing the positive. 

“I use this to motivate myself and give everything my best effort. If I try my best and still don’t succeed, I find a lesson to learn from it and keep trying.” 

With joy, passion, and always seeing the bright side, you never really fail; you're simply growing and becoming a stronger leader.

Bailey's Advice for Future Leaders

Similar to what former President Barack Obama said in his Speaker Broadcast with the NSLS, Bailey sees close listening as the marker of great leadership. 

When asked about what advice she'd give to someone looking to become a better leader, Bailey said, “Work on being the best listener you can be. The more people feel heard, the more they feel respected. When people respect each other, they can work better together.” 

Creating an environment where teamwork will thrive is important. Bailey sees strong leadership in this framework and always has an eye on bringing people together. 

“Leadership is being able to facilitate an environment where everyone can work cohesively toward a common goal.”

As for what's next, Bailey is excited to continue to grow as a leader in the healthcare space. She’s currently a medical scribe at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center, and previously held an internship at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists. 

“My goal for 2022 is to get into medical school. I’m currently in the interview phase and will hopefully be starting this summer. I plan to achieve this goal by being confident in myself and my accomplishments during my interviews.”

Through the tough interview process and the struggles along the way, she’ll continue to find the joy in the hard work it takes to accomplish her goals.

Do you want to go confidently into your next interview? Listen to our Motivational Mondays episode with HR and recruiting leader Madeline Mann, where you'll learn the tricks of the trade and how to never stumble over that question ever again.