First-Generation Graduate, Success Coach Shares Her Experiences with Otterbein Students

Posted Jun 20, 2024

By Olivia Stanley ’24

Success Coach Kyra Crook is following her passion for helping others by guiding students through the obstacles of college life. And Otterbein’s students are in the best hands – Crook is a certified Master Life Coach.

Crook said her job involves listening to concerns and challenges and identifying any barriers that are keeping students from living their best lives. She also refers them to programs and resources they may not have been aware of and acts as “one of their biggest cheerleaders” on campus.

According to Cook, a Success Coach at Otterbein “assists students with navigating college life. A Success Coach maintains a relationship with each student under their care – listening to their triumphs and challenges, helping them to overcome hurdles that may keep them from ‘showing up’ and expressing their absolute best selves in class, on campus, in the community, and assuring they experience their moment as they walk across the stage and receive their Otterbein degree(s).”

“There are no big challenges because I am doing something that comes naturally to me. The goal of life coaching is to help someone express their best self in as many ways as possible,” Crook said.

To be her best self, Crook pursued a mid-career change and earned her Master Life Coach certification, along with a bachelor’s degree in management and leadership and an associate degree in organizational leadership. She leveraged her expertise in human services, affordable housing, and sales into her new career.

Crook said she mainly assists students who are the first in their families to attend college with a wide range of tasks, including providing resources, referrals, success plans, ordering books, navigating class and professor challenges, addressing struggles of new friendships and relationships, and simply being relatable to students.

“I believe first-generation students need guidance because often they are dealing with a bit of culture shock. They don’t have that support of family members who have ‘been there…done that.’ It can be lonely and scary when you are in a new experience, and you don’t feel like you have anyone to share it with that would understand. I appreciate being there for my students as a first-generation student myself because I understand their perspective,” Crook said. “I want to provide students with the help and support that I didn’t receive when I had my initial college experience, but wish I had.”

One of her students, Jo Rauk, explains that the impact that Coach Krya has had on her Otterbein experience has helped her stay motivated to graduate.

“She has made a great impact on me, and I truly feel like I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for her. She has made me a better student in so many ways and has held me accountable,” Rauk said.

Not only that, but she has given Rauk guidance to contact her professors and tutors when needed and encourages her to be the best student she can be.

“I want my students to walk away having reached their academic goals at Otterbein. I hope that students will take what I’ve shared with them and do the same for others. I hope they will remember that they had an Otterbein staff member in their corner from day one. I find that Otterbein is connected like a family, and we stand on each other’s shoulders to reach our goals! I appreciate being in that number,” Crook said.