Paige Butauski

Paige Butauski

Paige Butauski is a human development and family sciences master's student from Hilliard, OH

Hometown: Hilliard, OH

Year: Expected graduation: 2023

Major: Human development and family sciences (M.S.)

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
When I was younger, I wanted to be an author. I have always had a passion for reading because of the way it allows you to escape from stress and enter into a character's world. While I am not pursuing being an author as a career path, I have found that my aspirations for becoming a therapist reflect my love for storytelling. When I work with clients, I get to enter their world and guide them in constructing the story they want to tell about themselves.

What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am working toward my M.S. in applied human development and family sciences with a specialization in marriage and family therapy. I decided on this course of study because I think cultivating healthy relationships is integral to improving one's well-being. Whether I work with individuals, couples or families, I love helping them increase their awareness of how their relationships play a key role in the way they perceive the world and themselves.

What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
Something I have found pleasantly surprising about my experience at NIU is how quickly individuals working in different departments will respond to any questions that you may have. Whether it's the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, Health Services or Parking Services, I’ve been able to send emails or engage in conversations over the phone with these departments to quickly and efficiently resolve any questions I have. 

How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
My master's program involves a cohort of students who take the same classes together each semester. Having my cohort by my side throughout my experience as a graduate student has undoubtedly been one of the most fruitful parts of my experience here. They are always available for encouragement and answering questions. Graduate school can feel overwhelming, but the support from my cohort reminds me that I am capable and not alone in the process. Big shoutout to Adella, Aleah, Brooke, Jacq, Jahleel, Jamye, Janell, Kelly, Shannon and Stephanie—I am so thankful for each one of you!

Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
I am the student representative for my graduate cohort. In this role, I attend meetings with faculty to discuss our cohort's experience in the program and ways in which we could feel more supported. This experience has helped me feel more confident in advocating for myself and others and gives me wonderful opportunities to connect with the faculty.

What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The events and workshops hosted by the Graduate School have definitely helped me succeed. I attended workshops that helped me increase my understanding of and learn how to prepare for my program's comprehensive examination. The workshops also increased my knowledge of conducting literature reviews and analyzing and critiquing research. 

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
I really appreciated the flexibility and responsiveness of Dr. Susan Bowers. I took Family Stress and Structural Diversity with her. She was always available to bounce ideas off of for our papers, and it was clear that she cared about helping each student succeed.

How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
Attending class regularly allows you to get the most out of your experience in school. By being present, you have more opportunities to actively engage with the material, collaborate with other students in the class and ask questions to your professor to enhance your understanding.

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
Definitely the East Lagoon! I love nature, and it is a very peaceful spot to take walks and be present in the moment.

What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
The process of applying to colleges sometimes makes you feel as if you have to pitch yourself in the best light over and over again. It can sometimes make you wonder whether you really are as qualified and worthy of acceptance as you are portraying yourself to be. Remind yourself that you are. Be proud of both the unique strengths that make you who you are and the areas of your life where you hope to grow throughout your experience at college—and highlight those ideas throughout your applications.

Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Taking care of myself is not an option. It is easy to become burnt out if you constantly push yourself to work and set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Giving yourself grace and taking time to do things that feel restful and rejuvenating is sometimes the most productive thing you can do. You cannot pour into your schoolwork, your student organizations or your friendships with an empty cup, so make sure to fill yours up. 

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love taking walks, exploring restaurants and playing board games with friends, reading and spending time with my amazing fiancé! 

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