Getting Into The Room - Life Altering Event #75

Getting Into The Room - Life Altering Event #75

Frank Zaccari Frank Zaccari
3 minute read

In a world where opportunities often come with obstacles, breaking down barriers becomes paramount for personal and academic growth. This document delves into the profound significance of overcoming diverse hurdles to be present in rooms where critical decisions shape futures. Through the remarkable work of Barbara Baker, the Director of the TRIO program at MCLA, we explore how she empowers students to navigate life's challenges and access transformative opportunities.

To change the trajectory of our life we have to be in the room where things happen. We cannot create change standing outside the door. The challenge for many is overcoming physical, emotional, social, or economic barriers just to get into the room.

Meet the Guest: Barbara Baker

Barbara Baker is the Director of TRIO Student Support Services at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. MCLA. During her college years, she was a TRIO student at Kansas State University in a town known as the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas. Barbara is a proud first-generation college student; TRIO alum and she believes TRIO WORKS! Barbara’s motto is: “you are at your strongest when you ask for help!” Along with her identity as a first-generation college student, Barbara is also a colon cancer survivor. Her journey with cancer solidified her belief on how precious and important our time is on earth. 

Barbara is not only an educator but also a mentor and guide. Her resilience extends beyond academia, having overcome colon cancer, an experience that has profoundly shaped her perspective on the preciousness of time and the impact one can make. Barbara's story embodies the essence of perseverance, emphasizing the importance of providing support and resources for all students to succeed.

🔑 Key Takeaways:

  1. Overcoming Barriers is Crucial: Breaking down barriers is not just about personal success; it's about being present in spaces where critical decisions are made.
  2. TRIO Program Support: Barbara and her team employ strategies such as internships, work-study programs, and success coaching to help students gain skills and experiences. They demystify aspects of college life, ensuring students understand their rights and available resources.
  3. Seeking Help is Strength: Barbara's work underscores the belief that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Everyone has the capability to succeed; they just need to recognize their potential and sometimes, ask for help.

💡 Discussion Points:

  • Access to Decision-Making Spaces: Explore the importance of overcoming barriers to access spaces where critical decisions are made.
  • Role of TRIO Program: Discuss how support systems like the TRIO program help students navigate hurdles and access life-changing opportunities.
  • Impact of Mentors: Examine the influence of mentors and support systems on academic success.
  • Transition from Rural to Urban Areas: Delve into the challenges and successes of transitioning from rural to urban areas for job opportunities.
  • Importance of Seeking Help: Discuss the significance of seeking help and the power of believing in oneself.
  • Personal Experiences' Influence: Explore how personal experiences, such as surviving cancer, can profoundly influence one's approach to work and life.

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