The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Our people: Student's focus on wellness


December 29, 2019

Courtesy photo

Rhiannon Barela hopes to "motivate and inspire" those around her.

Rhiannon Barela is a graduate student at Eastern New Mexico University in the College of Business.

She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and plans to be a first-generation master's graduate in May.

She plans to use her credentials to open a wellness clinic that focuses on mental health and well-being.

Tell me a little bit about your job and the work you're doing.

My initial job at Eastern is as a graduate assistant through my fellowship with the College of Business. I assist a teacher assigned to myself. I oversee their classes, put in the grades for tests, etc. It's tedious work but I like being able to say I helped with a certain class.

About my podcast, it is a side project that I don't get paid for. It's called Rhi-Take after my name Rhi and my take on whatever the topic is. I bring in people who I know will add controversy to the podcast and I choose the topic that day. I want it to be real, raw, and uncut.

I also still help with Campus Life, which oversees 80-plus student organizations. Honestly, whatever I can get my hands on with volunteer opportunities I take it.

When you leave Eastern what impact do you hope to have made?

I actually left for a little while and when I came back it was nice that people still remembered me and were excited about me returning. I hope no matter what people have been through they know they can weather the storm.

Some of the most difficult moments of my life happened at Eastern. I always say you can let those moments define you or refine you. You can make it because you have to.

Who is your biggest hero?

My Nina, who is my godmother. She is my safe place, my rock, my backbone. I have tattoos dedicated to her.

When I moved out of my parents' house at 14, she came and picked up the pieces of this troubled kid who was tough to deal with. I was very angry, she scooped me up and took me in.

It was difficult living with her, she was like a drill sergeant. She has always been the person who pushes me. She won't let me have a pity party for myself, she has been my motivator and my biggest support. She's amazing. I love her.

Tell me some of your future goals.

I have a lot of goals. I'm overly ambitious. It can be good or bad. I feel like my ultimate goal is to just be able to help people on a daily basis. You can do that without a job or career.

Hopefully I can work with nonprofit organizations. With my degree in psychology and my master's come May, I'd like to use my experience and knowledge to create a safe place for people. Whether it's a rec center or wellness clinic - something along those lines.

I would like to use a podcast or blog to motivate and inspire people as well. Everyone has their dark days, and I want to be the person to put light in their life.

Three things you think about on a daily basis?

I'm an overthinker to the max. The number one is love; love is something that's discounted in today's society, in any relationship.

I have written on my mirror "love always" "resilience" and "I came up" crossed out, and it's replaced by "God came through."

Knowing the storms I've had to weather, there's a lot of pushback from myself - a lot of traumas and triggers I have to work through and identify so I remind myself of those daily.

My relationship with God is my number one thing. If I didn't have God, I wouldn't have anything. If you believe in God or not, I think you should connect to a higher power in life. But mine has to be God.

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

It would say "fearlessly authentic." That would cover everything. It would let people know she's bold. She's a little loud, and intimidating but she's kind, she cares, respects, and wants to help.

I take a lot of people off guard; I'm a lot and I know I am. Either you love me or hate me. It used to bother me and sometimes it still does. I'm not an 80-proof shot or 100-proof shot, I'm 1,000-proof shot and if you can't take that shot you shouldn't.

I used to overextend myself trying to be there for everyone. It can be detrimental to who you are. There are too many people who never understood how authentic I am. I'll give you 1,000 percent of myself all the time. I give way more than people expect.

- Compiled by Correspondent Bryanna Bradley


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