• student ali raza sitting at the stairs

    I found my Higher Education family.

As a first-generation college student, I had a difficult time transitioning to The University of Texas at Austin, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree.

I was born in Jacobabad, Pakistan, but I claim El Campo, Texas as my hometown – a small, rural town with a population of just fewer than 10,000. This made the transition to a large, public, research institution with more than 50,000 students especially challenging.

To help with the transition, I became extensively involved on campus through a variety of campus leadership roles and thus became more comfortable with who I was as an individual. I knew that I wanted to make a small difference in the world, and I figured the best way that I could give back to my community was to emulate the positive experiences I had in college – just as my mentors did – and be a part of another student’s journey, empowering them to create the best possible experience while in college. My plans had always been to attend law school following graduation until I realized that Higher Education would be the perfect avenue for me to create positive change.

So, I sought out programs in Higher Education and Student Affairs that had a strong academic curriculum and a history of producing strong student affairs professionals ready to make waves. One of my mentors – a graduate of the Higher Education program at FSU – always talked about theory-to-practice and how important it was to receive a balanced education. I found that with Florida State.

I chose Florida State University’s Higher Education program specifically because I immediately felt a connection. The College of Education felt like home. From the cutting-edge research and quirkiness of the faculty and the welcoming Visiting Days 2014 experience with students already in the program to the incredible web of support known as the LifeNet made up of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, I knew Florida State University was the right place for me.

The Higher Education program is exactly the family I was hoping to find when I made my decision to attend FSU. People genuinely care about you, your experience, and will empower you to succeed. I find great value in a program and college that values the students right back.

Today, I can say I made the right decision. I feel supported, I have been challenged, I have found life-long friendships, and I am continuously learning and growing. I could not be more proud to be a part of this higher education and student affairs family.