Robert Cubilla ’23, School of Social Work

Robert Cubilla reflects on his time at UConn

Portrait of Robert Cubilla

Portrait of Robert Cubilla, taken on March 29, 2023. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

Robert Cubilla is, as he says, interested in everything. That made UConn, with its huge diversity of majors and courses of study, a natural fit, but it’s Cubilla’s drive to help others that led him to pursue a degree in Social Work. It’s a discipline that combines elements of psychology and sociology – two passionate interests of his – along with the practical side of helping people through problems in life. It takes resolve, compassion, and bravery to be a social worker, and whenever Cubilla needs to recharge and refresh, he can always do what he did as a UConn student: sit by the waves of Avery Point, and feel peace.


Why did you choose UConn?

UConn was a natural choice for me. I had grown up in Connecticut, and many of my friends had attended. I moved out of state for quite some time and did most of my undergrad out of state. I came home to Connecticut looking for a way to not only continue my studies, but to also be a part of something that could combine the part of me that was Connecticut and the part of me that had experienced more of the world. UConn offers the best part of that; it is Connecticut, and yet brings in all the country and all the world. I don’t think any other school in Connecticut can claim that. So, it had to be UConn. I like to think UConn saw a little of the same in me; part Connecticut and yet part of the world. We chose each other.

What’s your major/field of study, and what drew you to it?

Social Work, and I chose it because it is a profession rooted in helping others. The hardest part of my learning path has been my interest in everything. I enjoy people, and I enjoy learning how they think, and so I started off on a psychology track. I took a sociology course, and immediately switched – how could you look into a person’s mind before you looked at what was affecting it? And then I realized I wanted more than just studying, I wanted to do something. Social Work fit. It is learning about people, learning about what’s around them, and then striving to make it better.

What’s one thing that surprised you about UConn?

UConn has such diversity of students and programs. No matter where you look, there’s someone new you would have never gotten to meet before. It has all the “traditional” degrees. You can study medicine, or law, or English, or any manner of science and technical degrees. But you can study agriculture, or marine sciences. If you want to devote your life to something, to develop a new passion, you can find it here. Or if you have an interest, an “itch that needs to be scratched,” it’s there too. It’s not just about developing a career; it’s about developing a whole person.

What are your plans after graduation/receiving your degree?

I am still exploring my next step. I have a lot of leads. I would like to work with veterans, but I also want to work with young families, especially single parents (like I was for a time, and especially because my mother was). They have such a lot to offer, but so much gets in their way. I want to help ease that way.

Any advice for incoming students?

Never quit! Life gets hard, so hard. You will have setbacks, you will have to slow down or even take a break for a bit, and that’s ok.  But never quit on you!

What’s one thing everyone should do during their time at UConn?

Go to Avery Point! It’s a little slice of beauty that can be hidden if you don’t explore UConn. The sun shining on the old mansion (looks like a castle), the wind blowing off the coast, relaxing on the walkways, which brings me to the next question…

What will always make you think of UConn?

The waves crashing on the shore will always make me think of UConn and of Avery Point. They have beaten off the coast here for generations of students and for the millennia that people have walked the shores of Connecticut. For me, when a test was coming, a paper was due, I could sit by the waves, feel their patience and their unrelenting permanence, and take peace in that whatever is hard will pass.