Hi friends! I'm thrilled to be kicking off the Celebration Series again on it's new day...Monday! If you missed the announcement last week, you can read more about the new blog schedule here.
Today we're chatting with Bailey Guthrie, who is someone that I've admired and looked up to since the day I met her back at the University of Georgia. Bailey has this contagious energy about her that draws people in. She's kind, hilarious, inclusive, passionate, honest, real, positive, and absolutely captivating. She works in student affairs for Southern Methodist University and has made a career out of something that comes so naturally to her — encouraging and uplifting others to become their best selves. It's so evident that Bailey is doing work that she's meant to be doing and it's been so inspiring for me to witness it.
Outside of work, Bailey and her husband Andrew are in the process of adopting their first child. Bailey's vulnerability and honesty about the joys and hardships that they have faced along the way is, simply put, beautiful. I know with certainty that her voice is a comfort to the many other families who find themselves in a similar place. I so admire the way that, in the face of such hardship, Bailey has continued to find a way to encourage and empower those who are following along with her story.
Let's get into the interview!
Give us a quick background on who you are and what you do for work.
Hello from Dallas, Texas! I’m Bailey. I am the wife to my best friend, Andrew, “Aunt B” to four beautiful nieces, a Georgia fan, animal lover, amateur gardener, and an aspiring home designer/contractor (#futuregoals). During the 9-5 hours (and often after), I’m a Student Affairs Administrator working in the functional area of leadership and service programs. After an amazing four years (of over-involvement) as an undergrad at the University of Georgia, I knew I was passionate about the college life stage. I went straight through to earn my M.S. in Higher Education at Florida State University and have loved my career since day one. For the past three years (it seriously has been that long?!) I have been at Southern Methodist University as the Coordinator for Community Engagement & Leadership. I spend my days interacting with bright-eyed 18-22 year olds that are passionate about impacting the world around them. I work with community-based programs, such as Alternative Breaks, to facilitate experiential learning opportunities for students.
What about your work brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
I love being in the trenches and in the gray areas of self-discovery with students. I am most fulfilled when one of them achieves success, whatever that looks like for them. When an 18-year-old freshman starts to think for themselves and is finally able to confidently articulate their own beliefs and values. When a first-generation student, who dealt with family tragedies and struggled with classes, gets into med school. Or when a star student leader, who wrestled with anxiety and depression, starts to feel like themselves again. I love watching students have “aha moments” and achieve their dreams. It gives me all of the feels.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
The saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I always tell my students this, but, truth be told, I have to tell it to myself more frequently. I desire to be more present, more grateful, more content.
What has been difficult lately?
Andrew and I are currently on the journey to adopting our first child. The past few years have come with quite a bit of heartache: infertility issues, a miscarriage, and, most recently, a failed adoption (we drove 11-hours to Kentucky to go pick up a child, but the birth mom changed her mind). It has been difficult, but we believe in a sovereign God who has perfect timing and a perfect plan. We are learning that our trust in the Lord cannot be results-oriented and that this life is not some sort of exercise in pain-avoidance. We press on and wait in hope for the day that He has our child ready for us.
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?
Yikes – I’m not sure that I’m anything exceptional. I am humbled on a daily basis by the very talented and hardworking people in my life. They inspire me to be better. In general, my life is relationship-driven. I believe that I was uniquely designed to be people-centered, with a passion for and ability to connect with individuals pretty easily. At work, I make time to hand-write notes to students, to figure out their favorite candy and surprise them on a test day. I try to be intentional about remembering details of their life - what classes they’re taking, what struggles they’re going through, what inspires them - and to genuinely ask about those things. I think relationships, especially the ones that I develop with my students, have to be a balance of challenge and support. Accountability and encouragement. Unique? Not sure, but I think I do try to prioritize relationships with my students, friends, and family.
What is the most embarrassing thing in your Google search history?
I am constantly having to Google all of the acronyms and sayings my students use. I nod my head in conversation, maybe throw a quick wink or thumbs up their way (be cool, Bailey… be cool), then scurry to my office to figure out what in the world they were saying…
- “TBH” = to be honest
- “STN” = spend the night
- “Retweet” = when you like what someone says; affirming something as truth
- To “ship” two people= wanting them to be together
- “I can’t/I can’t even” = overwhelmed and cannot comprehend/deal with something
- “salty” = bitter
- “IMO” = in my opinion
- “turnt” = get crazy/be awesome
- “ATM” = at the moment
- “thirsty” = desperate, usually for someone of the opposite sex
- “slay” = to do something amazing/to be awesome
- “dank” = awesome; cool
- “On fleek” = on point; cool
- “AF” = as “heck” (but with the F word)