As the semester comes to a close, a small group of Oklahoma Christian University’s seniors will soon receive their hard-earned degrees. Oklahoma Christian’s fall graduation will commence Friday, Dec. 13, at 2:30 p.m. in Baugh Auditorium.
Elizabeth Stewart, a graduating senior, is wrapping up her time as an Eagle, leaving with a degree in sports, wellness and recreation.
In a recent interview with the Talon, Stewart discussed early graduation, her plan and the sacrifices she made to make it possible.
What are some of the notable pros and cons of graduating early?
Some of the pros of graduating early include fewer loans and less school, obviously, but you get to start your life quicker than usual. There’s less of that feeling of being stuck at school or on campus, and more cognizance of reality outside of OC. I got married in April, so graduating early means I can provide more income for my family and spend more time with my husband. Some of the cons include missing out on Spring Sing and other club activities since your degree plan is accelerated. I chose not to be in a club for my last semester with how much I’m already working and trying to prepare for after graduation. I sometimes wonder if I should have added a minor or something to have a more normal college experience, but I have no regrets and look forward to graduation.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I’m going to be taking on new responsibilities in my role at Oklahoma Swim Academy as I get certified to teach water aerobics. I’m currently a scheduler for their survival swim lessons, but I’ll also be building their new water aerobics program from the ground up and teaching classes.
Would you advise other students to commit to graduating early?
I would advise students to commit to what serves them best. More power to them if they want to get in and get out, but that doesn’t work for everyone. My junior year was much more intense than I had originally planned, but I got through it and I learned a lot from my professors, mentors and friends.
How is your degree going to be useful after graduation?
I’m graduating with a B.S. in sports, wellness, and recreation with a minor in psychology. I was worried about how useful the degree would be since it’s being discontinued in favor of the new sports management and nutrition and exercise programs, but I’ve been given a great opportunity with my job to use the knowledge I’ve been given. I originally wanted to go into more of a personal training route, but as my chronic illness and joint issues worsened, it became apparent that I’d need to explore other options. I’m excited to see where this takes me.
Were there any sacrifices that you had to make to make early graduation possible?
I sacrificed time with my club to graduate early. I loved my time with Iota, and those women mean so much to me. I often felt removed from mainstream OC since I’m only part-time and living off campus as well. But even when I lived in the apartments last year, working and job shadowing made club and campus participation difficult. I think everyone feels that way, though, and I was fortunate to have great friends who made sure to check on me when I was going through it.