College Interview Series Pt. 7 – Digital Design with an emphasis in animation

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It’s Monday again? Already? Time always flies during the school semester. Anyway, welcome back! Today my friend Julia is going to tell you all about her degree. I ended up sitting next to her in my Public Relations class because someone took my normal seat. After getting to know Julia, I am so glad that I had to switch seats! She is so sweet and graciously puts up with the slap-happy version of me (by the time I get to PR class I am tired and sugared up). Let’s get to the interview!

What is your degree (do you have an emphasis or minor)? Why did you choose your degree?

I’m majoring in Digital Design with an emphasis in animation. I started with this major because I wanted to work on movies and/or video games for a career despite how competitive and challenging it is to get into that field. I considered doing something more practical, but designing and telling stories was the one thing that I’ve always loved to do; I figured that I have to at least try to get that perfect dream job, no matter how it turns out in the end. Even if I don’t end up there, I’d be satisfied knowing that I gave it my all.

What kinds of courses do you have to take? What kinds of assignments do you have to do a lot of (tests, papers, lab reports, ect.)?

I’ve taken many classes ranging from 2d animation, 3d animation, 3d modeling, figure drawing, and graphic design. Most of my classes had very little tests and papers, and were primarily spent working on large scale projects. They’re all geared towards potential careers, making each one feel important and useful.

What has been the hardest part of your degree?

I think the hardest part about this major is that the majority of the work is a matter of skill. There is rarely ever any one right way to do things, which is good, but it also means that it can be that much harder to get my work to a level I’m satisfied with. I may get a good grade on an assignment for fulfilling all of the requirements, but I’m constantly having to compare myself to my classmates. I always have to be careful to view it as a challenge, rather than discouragement.

What is your favorite part of your degree?

My favorite part about my degree is that it is so well focused around the thing that I love to do most, which is to create. Almost every assignment I’ve done throughout these four years has left me with something to look back on. Whether it’s an animation that I hand drew, or a logo I spent weeks designing, I have been able to keep everything I made and remember what I learned each time. It makes it very easy to see how much I’ve improved. Every assignment comes with a sense of accomplishment.

Do you have a favorite subject/course within your major?

My favorite course was easily Figure Drawing, which I took during my second semester here at GCU. Every day was spent drawing real people and objects. There had been no other class that helped my art skills improve as drastically as that one did. Though it is such a basic drawing course, it taught me skills and techniques that I will use for the rest of my life.

How do you study best?

On the rare occasion where I did need to study for a test, I would make flashcards and sometimes have my roommate quiz me. But in regards to practicing artwork, finding references and tutorials online were lifesavers.

What skills should someone develop if they want to pursue your degree?

Get into the habit of practicing every single day, and learn to ask for critiques. It can be difficult to ask people to pick out the flaws in something you’ve made, but it is a crucial part of the journey. Once you start on this path, the critiques will never stop; it’s better to get used to it. Likewise, learn how to critique the work of your classmates. Too many people in this degree struggle with saying what they truly think about someone’s work because they’re afraid of hurting their feelings. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, but doing so is the best way to help them and yourself grow as an artist.

What are your next steps after graduation?

I’m currently lined up for an internship at a marketing firm in Oregon for graphic design work. My ultimate goal is to do conceptual artwork, but considering how difficult it is to get into that field, it is very common for artists to do graphic design after graduating while polishing up their other skills until they’re at the level that can land such a competitive job.

Anything else you would like to tell someone who is interested in your degree or is already pursuing your degree?

Digital design and animation is for the passionate. Pursuing such a career is risky, but rewarding if you have the tenacity. Never stop practicing, and never stop loving what you do.

Thank you so much, Julia! I will be on the lookout for the animation work you will create in the future!

Come back next week! We’ve still got some awesome interviews to go!

College Interview Series Pt. 6 – Secondary Education with an emphasis in math

My cousin, Tony, graciously agreed to jump on here and expound on his degree and career. For years and years seeing Tony has been one of the highlights of the holidays because he is so. much. fun. While I will never agree with him that math is a wonderful thing, I will always respect him and his brains for taking on math (and highschool students!).

What is your degree (do you have an emphasis or minor)? Why did you choose your degree?

I earned my degree in secondary education with an emphasis in mathematics. I picked this degree so that I could teach high school math.

What kinds of courses did you have to take? What kinds of assignments did you have to do a lot of (tests, papers, lab reports, etc.)?

I took mostly education and math courses. In my education courses, there was a lot of researching and writing about child development and teaching practices. In my math courses, there was more homework quizzes and exams.

What was the hardest part of your degree?

The upper-level math courses were the most difficult. These courses required writing many proofs of geometry algebra and calculus concepts.

What was your favorite part of your degree?

I enjoyed working with fellow students in the teaching program. We would have several classes together each semester, which allowed us to get to know each other better.

Did you have a favorite class/subject in your studies?

There was a mathematical problem-solving class that I really enjoyed.

How did you study best?

At a table listening to music.

What skills should someone develop if they want to pursue your degree?

Strong organizational skills and patience.

What were your next steps after graduation?

After graduation, I moved to Colorado and taught for two years before leaving education to work as a tradesman in Arizona.

Anything else you would like to tell someone who is interested in your degree or is already pursuing your degree?

Teaching is a difficult but rewarding job.

Thanks Tony! Meet me back here next week to hear from a digital design major!

College Interview Series Pt. 5 – History

I know many people who love history, but my college friend Jillian takes it to a whole new level. In fact, she’s enthusiastic and cheerful about life in general, not just history. I’m sure blessed to have her as a fellow student! Anyway, I’m going to stop talking (or writing) and let her tell you all about her history degree and Egyptian history! Enjoy!

Why did you choose a history degree?

I have always been passionate about history which derives from my dad instilling in me the idea that history was something fun. When I was young he would tell me and my sister stories about the past. From Greek mythology to the World Wars, his diction, tone, and verbal imagery melded together to form a holistic picture of something exciting. I found myself constantly seeking more. From a young age, my dad successfully piqued my interest and that was all it took for me to become an avid reader. I began investing my time in discovering the mysteries that books revealed about our history. When it came time to go to college and choose a major, there was no question. Something that began from excitement has become a passion which I plan to pursue with as much fervor as possible.

What kinds of courses do history majors take? What kinds of assignments do history majors have to do?

You take quite a wide array of classes from Ancient Mediterranean, to Renaissance and Reformation, and U.S after 1945. You cover thousands of years of knowledge so you will learn quite a lot. That being said, usually they fall into two category types. The first type os what we call the “paper class”. This essentially means that your semester will be consumed with writing one big 15-25 page paper on a subject related to the class. For example, in my War and Revolution class I focused my paper on the Arab Spring in Egypt and how Social Media affected the aftermath of it. You work independently on this outside of class for two to three months going to libraries, archives, etc. to synthesize an original historical analysis. While you are doing this there are usually other small assignments to test your knowledge about the other aspects of the class. The second type of class is what we call “knowledge based”. While both classes require knowledge these class types are meant to make sure you understand the history behind it. For example, in Ancient Mediterranean there are eight very simple assignments. Essentially they are knowledge checkers to make sure you are paying attention. The reasoning for this is these classes are foundational to the rest of history. The same goes for classes such as Renissance and Reformation.

Also side note! Turabian style format will be your best friend! You will hate it at first as everyone does but it becomes a beautiful thing once you learn to use it. One example is footnotes. At first these will seem annoying but it solves a problem history majors face on a constant basis, having too much information. Often when you work on a research project you find all sorts of great information and sources but not all of it will actually work with the flow of the paper and it is such a disappointment to let it go to waste. However, footnotes exist not only for in text citations, but also for information that doesn’t fit with the flow of the paper but you still want to mention.

What has been the hardest part of your degree?

Accepting that sometimes your hypothesis is wrong. A lot of times I think of science and history on far different sides of the academic scale. However, when it comes down to it both schools of thought make hypothesis before they are deep in their research. Sometimes our conclusions are right and it is the most rewarding feeling, but other times they’re wrong and that can be hard to accept when you put your blood sweat and tears go into it. When you start a history research project you feel bonded to it. You go to libraries, archives, message professors from other Universities, all in the hopes of crafting the perfect paper that proves a conclusion you drew. Unfortunately sometimes history reveals a different past than the one you constructed and there is certainly a learning curve to accepting that its okay to tell a different story than you intended to when you began. Our job as historians is bringing the past to the light not covering it up because the reality wasn’t what we hypothesized.

What is your favorite time period in history?

This is the hardest question! But if you are going to be a history major get ready to answer the same three questions. 1. What is your favorite time period in history. 2. Do you have a favorite historical figure. 3. If you could go back in time where would you go?

Anyways, even though it is hard to pick I love Ancient Egypt. More specifically I like the time period when the Egyptians are shifting from the Armana Period under Akhenaten to the New Kingdom with Tutenkamun, Ay, and Horemheb. The reason for this is because there is a very interesting story embedded in this transition of power. After King Tutenkamun (King Tut) died, his wife/sister was scared he had been killed by an Egyptian so she sent a letter to the Hittite Empire to ask if they would send her a prince to marry because she didn’t want to marry someone who could have killed her husband. The Hittite King sent his son, but he never made it and was mysteriously lost in the desert. This event sparked conflict between the nation that would last for decades. I had the pleasure of exploring this topic in one of my “paper classes” and loved unmasking all the political intrigue.

Do you have a favorite historical figure?

While this is difficult to answer as there are many historical figures I admire I would have to say my favorite historical figure is an Egyptologist (someone who studies or excavates ancient Egyptian antiquities) named Giovanni Belzonni (1778-1823). He was an engineer from Italy who was extremely strong and when he couldn’t find work as an engineer he became a circus act of being a strong man who could lift several people at once. However, his true passion was engineering and because of this he journeyed to Egypt to find work. While he was there he ran into some British who were looking to excavate/transport the head of Memnon (in the British Museum the famous bust that hangs above the Egyptian gallery). They recruited him because his strength and look was intimidating as well as his engineering degree helped him figure out a means to transport it. He was successful in getting the bust and decided to stay and explore. He is quite amusing because there are many people who spent their whole lives studying and preparing to come to Egypt to do what he was, but for him it was a hobby that he excelled at.

How do you study best?

I think this really depends on the person. Some history majors make flashcards and try to memorize it, but personally that never worked for me. History isn’t just about memorization, in fact that is a very small part of it. I always studied through writing about the subjects in my own words to practice the skills needed to craft a research paper. This made sure the subjects stuck. I also constantly bring up what I am studying in conversation. Things become easier to understand when you have to explain them to others.

What skills should someone develop if they want to pursue a history degree?

One of the biggest things to prepare you if you want to pursue a history degree is first recognizing the reality of what it means. When I began my journey I thought studying history would be what I did in high school. You are assigned a topic, you research it, and then write a paper on it. What I failed to recognize then was that history is not merely a write up of what happened in the past. Most people treat its study akin to reading minutes at a meeting. It is not a word for word play by play of what happened. It is original research conducted to create a conversation about the past. It is not meaningless, it has practical applications and functions. Also, something to keep in mind, few times in history do we ever have a stamp that says this is 100% guaranteed of what happened. History is all about interpretation based off of sound evidence and research methods. It requires lots of critical thinking, research capabilities, and knowledge. But don’t worry! Your professors will teach you how to do it, but to prepare come in with the right mindset that this degree will take work. Also, if I had any advice I would say never stop reading. You never know what history knowledge will be beneficial to you in the future.

What are your next steps after graduation?

Currently, I am applying for graduate school as I want to begin working on a thesis involving the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and how Britain and France dueled in the form of archeologists in Egypt.

Anything else you would like to tell someone who is interested in history or pursuing a history degree?

The beautiful thing about history is how it helps you understand yourself. I think a lot of people think it isn’t important because they have this misconception that it isn’t relevant. The reality is history reveals to its researcher why people acted the way they did, how they did it, the implications it had. Truthfully it is a great teacher of life. A lot of history tells stories of heroes and villains but sometimes historians disagree about the categorizations and it’s up to you to form your own opinion which in turn helps you judge your actions by the same standard. When you get down to it, it can help you see what kind of person you want to be.

Thanks for sharing all those crazy facts and your history journey, Jillian! Come back next week to hear from my cousin (a pretty awesome dude), who has his degree in secondary education with an emphasis in math!

College Interview Series Pt. 4 – Biblical Studies

Welcome back! Today I’ve got a real treat. Thus far, all the degrees I’ve posted about are four-year degrees, but four-year degrees are definitely not the right path for everyone. My friends Alex and Heather are an incredible couple from church who help lead the young adult’s group and assist with a bunch of ministries all over the church. Alex is jumping on here this week to describe his and Heather’s experience with Bible college!

What is your degree in?

Heather and I both received an Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Charis Bible College.

Why did you choose your degree?

Heather had wanted to go to Bible College for a while, so she made up her mind to do so before I did. For me, I was 3 years into a Finance Degree, when I realized that money is not important to me. Immediately after that, I heard the Lord tell me I needed to go to Bible College, which I had never wanted to do, but when God says “You need to go to Bible School” – you obey.

What kind of courses did you have to take?

Our Bible school stressed the importance of using the Bible as our textbook, so when we took courses like; Old Testament survey, Discipleship Evangelism, and The Christian First Aid Kit, we got to see precisely what the Bible, and thus the Lord, says on every topic.

What was the hardest part of your degree?

The hardest part of the degree was not the course work, but managing time. We attended school as a newly married couple, and I worked construction full-time during most of our schooling. Heather attended day school and taught music lessons in the afternoon, and I attended night school after work. As a result, we only saw each other for about an hour a day during the week. Our second year, we both attended night school, which required Heather to find a new job, which the Lord provided of course. Sitting in classes together, listening to the same teaching, and spending the drive home every night talking about what we had learned was a fantastic experience. This time together helped ensure we both had the same Biblical foundation for our beliefs and is something I am extremely grateful for.

What was your favorite part of the degree?

Reading through the Bible and seeing how good God is. I’ve often told people since God loves us so much, he will cheat to make us win. From parting the Red Sea, to holding the sun still in the sky, to healing people of incurable diseases – He is willing to break what we consider the “rules” of this world, to bless us. The mission trip which allowed us to see God at work through us was a close second.

Did you have a favorite class/subject in your studies?

I really enjoyed Old Testament Survey, and everything taught by Andrew Wommack. It seems evident to me that as believers, we identify with different attributes of God. Some people seem to have the tender heart of God, expressed as a tremendous amount of compassion for the lost. Others can’t get enough of worshiping God through music and song. Some are touched so much by the mercy and unmerited favor of God, that it’s almost all they can talk about.

For me, I love the warrior aspect of God. As I read through the Old Testament, I couldn’t help but see that the things which had been important to me from childhood, that caused me to join the Army at 17 – were clearly visible in God’s character. He loves his people. He takes a very “us vs. them” mentality. God, like any good Non-Commissioned Officer, is clear about his expectations, clear about the consequences of falling short, and ruthlessly consistent with his Word. Yet, He still shows more mercy and more restraint than I can imagine. It is God who teaches David’s hands to make war, the spirit of God who comes on Samson, and empowers him to kill a thousand Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone. It is God who tells Jehu to kill all the posterity of King Ahab, and eradicate the prophets of Baal. Yet it is God who would have spared Sodom for 10 righteous men, God who sent Jonah to Ninevah because of all their wickedness, He would rather them repent, then destroy them. It was God who stripped the kingdom from Nebuchadnezzar, but returned it to him when he acknowledged that all his power and wealth were given him by God.

I love to see the wonderful character of God revealed over millennia, and the Old Testament showed that to me. The New Testament shows us God bouncing his baby on his knee, but when I was literally surrounded by terrorists, when the bullets and rockets are coming in, that’s not the side of God I needed. A soldier needs to know that his God “..hast given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the Lord, but He answered them not. Then did I beat them as small as the dust before the wind; I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.” Psalm 18:40-42.

How did you study best?

I listened in class, and read the Word. When I could, I listened to the audio teachings of our classes while driving or hiking. Meditate on the Word.

Is there anything else you would tell someone who is interested in your degree?

I would say to them that you don’t need to go to Bible School to be used by God. However, you do need to learn the Word somehow. If you don’t know who God is as revealed in His Word, you will assign blame to Him for things that He had nothing to do with. If you don’t know how much He loves you, you will be unable to believe that He forgives you and wants you in His family. If you don’t know how strong He is, how faithful He is – you won’t ask him for help with the impossible, and you’ll never see His power at work in YOUR life. Once you have learned through experience His character, His love, His power, and His faithfulness; you will be able to live in perfect peace. Moreover, no one, including the devil, will be able to deceive you about the good things God has planned for your life.

Thank you so much Alex! Come back next week to hear from a history major!

College Interview Series Pt. 3 – Justice Studies

Happy Monday morning! Today we’ve got a major that from my experience is a bit more rare (I have never met anyone on campus with this major). My good friend Carly was gracious enough to tell me all about her degree. In fact, I actually chose one of my electives based on the information from this interview, so take it away Carly!

What is your degree (do you have an emphasis or minor)? Why did you choose your degree?

My degree was in Criminal Justice, or “Justice Studies” as it was titled at Grand Canyon University.  I didn’t have a minor, although I came very close to having enough credits to minor in Christian Studies.  It wasn’t intentional; I just naturally desired taking Christian courses and I always filled my elective schedule with those studies.  By the time graduation was around the corner, I noticed that I was only a few credits short of being able to minor in Christian Studies, but didn’t feel the need to prolong graduation to have a minor.  I chose my degree because I had been through a really hard experience in my life before attending GCU, and as a result, I greatly desired to get into the world of justice.  I wanted to contribute to people feeling safe and protected, and I wanted to do what little I could to ensure that dangerous people were not capable of hurting innocent people.  I didn’t know exactly what that would look like for me, but I wanted to at least begin heading down that road.

What kinds of courses did you have to take? What kinds of assignments did you have to do a lot of (tests, papers, lab reports, etc.)?

Aside from the obvious pre-requisite courses that any bachelor degree requires, as well as electives and basic university courses, I had to take many interesting classes that ultimately gave insight to the many aspects of the world of criminology.  I learned about broken glass theory, and how police officers have better success with reaching and protecting their communities through order and cleanliness.  I learned a broad array of Arizona statutes and laws, how to interpret/apply them, and got a taste of how lawyers daily utilize over them in efforts to fight for their clients and their rights by studying real past cases.  I learned how these things (police, lawyers, and their efforts, etc) take part in our overall government system, and how each branch and system are designed to harmoniously work together for our freedoms and our safety in America.  I learned patterns of past serial killers and how to identify their behaviors, to contribute that knowledge to overall crime deterrence.  I learned about correctional facilities, systems, failures, and strengths presented through our prison systems.  I even had the privilege of taking a physical tour of a local prison here in Arizona.  It was an incredible learning experience.  Of course, as most college courses are, the bulk majority of my assignments were written.  I wrote and submitted many essays throughout my few years at GCU.  Despite the bulk of the assignments being simple essays, the content of the courses required for a Justice Studies degree truly kept my intrigue high, and my interest in justice as passionate as ever.

What was the hardest part of your degree?

I would say the hardest part of my degree was the negative side of the content of what I was learning.  Getting a peek into criminals’ minds, observing first hand how they act in their prison environment, and seeing the pure evil that some people are driven by, was something that occasionally shook me to my core as I pursued my degree.  Sometimes it was eye-opening.  Sometimes it was simply horrifying.  Sometimes it just strengthened my desire to be educated in a way that would maybe someday help me to play a role in protecting innocent people.  And, in turn, I hoped it would also mean that I could play my small part in getting the dangerous people locked up.  Again, I wasn’t sure exactly what my role would be in that very large picture yet, but I was anxious to at least start down that path via the education it required.

What was your favorite part of your degree?

As I said above, it was very interesting content to learn, and I couldn’t help but feel excitement that this degree could lead me to play a role in overall justice for people.  Safety and justice were things I felt were important in learning about crime and how to have an understanding of the authorities’ efforts in deterring it.

Did you have a favorite class/subject in your studies?

If I remember right, Criminology and Correctional Functions were my favorite classes that pertained to my degree. In criminology, I was fascinated by learning not only about the unique criminals we studied but also about the mindset police officers have toward criminals.  It was very interesting learning theories, how we can try to make communities safer through small and achievable measures, and specific things police officers look for in criminals and how to attempt to deter future crime.  Officers are very trained in looking for repeat offenders, as well as many other things that ultimately lead to justice.  In my Correctional Functions class, I was fascinated learning about the court proceedings that lead to inmates being imprisoned in different levels of security, which are basically dependent upon the depth of their crimes committed and their level of danger.  I learned much about the role of correctional officers, what difficulty they have in encountering and mandating sentenced criminals daily, and the safety parameters that they must ensure they take to remain safe from these experienced criminals.

How did you study best?

I’m a Type A personality, a perfectionist, and I work very hard to be a good student.  I graduated Summa Cum Laude, and I worked very hard for that.  As I said, most of the work was done through extensive essays.  But, as in any schooling, there are also many tests to pass to show that the information is actually taking root in your mind.  I always studied best by being alone (sometimes a study partner would help if there were “flashcard” type terms they could help drill me with), in a quiet atmosphere, where I could really focus on memorizing and ensuring I understood my material correctly.  I could not focus if there was music, movies or TV playing in the background, etc.  I worked best studying alone in a quiet place.  I usually did fine with natural background noise, like nearby cars on a busy street, or the constant buzz of people talking around the campus if I were studying outside or in the cafeteria, but other than that, I just needed silence for me to focus.  I worked very hard in high school too, from which I graduated with a 4.0 GPA; so I already had a good understanding of what worked best for me in times that I needed to focus hard on my studies and assignments.  I didn’t like procrastinating or getting distracted from my work!

What skills should someone develop if they want to pursue your degree?

First of all, you kind of need to have thick skin.  I wasn’t very prepared for that when I was walking into it.  I became very interested in the role of a correctional officer as a result of my Correctional Functions course, but I learned very quickly that I wasn’t built for that kind of job.  The tour we experienced at the local prison was incredible and very interesting, but the few things the prisoners yelled out to us as we walked by them were enough to make me realize I was certainly not capable of working in an environment of such evil people.  It didn’t deter me, however, from still desiring to pursue something in the world of criminology and justice.

Secondly, I would say be prepared for an array of studies.  You don’t zero in on only police work, or just studies on law, etc.  This degree covers all areas of this system of government.  It covers the laws, the concepts of criminology and examples of notorious criminals to study; it covers court proceedings from beginning to end, and consequently the different types of sentencing and how that translates to corrections.  Justice Studies includes everything encompassing justice, from beginning to end; from laws, to the breaking of said laws, and finally to the punishment of those broken laws.

Thirdly, know that this is a stepping stone into any of those careers.  When I was going for my degree, everyone asked me what my goal career was, assuming that I either wanted to be a police officer or a lawyer.  Truth be told, I didn’t want to be either of those.  I didn’t know exactly which path I was going to take, but knew I wanted it to be in the world of justice.  It’s okay to not know at the beginning.  You don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the sure paths of others, or by the lack of clarity on your own path.  As long as this is your passion and you know you want to do something in the world of justice, move forward with your degree, and your path will unfold before you.

What were your next steps after graduation?

By the time graduation came and left, I decided I would love to start in administration for a police department.  However, many positions are hard to get into without experience of previous work in departments or at least internship experience.  I had a hard time finding any job for that matter, searching eventually for almost anything that would pay me more than an average job considering I had just obtained my bachelor’s degree.  Unfortunately, it was a difficult time for anyone searching for jobs.  It took me a few months of lowering my standard each week that I searched for work.  I finally was taken on by a recruiting company a few months after I graduated, and they got me a temp-to-hire position as an Underwriting Specialist at an auto-loan financing company.  It was not what I hoped for, but it was at least income after graduation.  After three months of technically being a “temp”, they chose to hire me on full time.  I was grateful for the stability and the growth I was experiencing in a work field.  Again, it wasn’t what I hoped for, but it was a job!  After nine months at the company, I put in my two weeks notice just before delivering my first child.  Since then, I have been a stay at home mom.  It’s been 4.5 years since I have been almost completely outside of the workforce, aside from some occasional side jobs I’ve taken on.

I have a few thoughts on the topic of becoming a stay at home mom after obtaining my degree.  First of all, it was not a waste of time!  I learned so much during my time at the Christian university, and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.  Secondly, when I began at GCU, I was just a single young person, looking to begin a career to take care of myself.  I didn’t anticipate that by the time of graduation I would be married, not having to be the sole provider of my life.  And, after only a few months of graduating, I unexpectedly became pregnant with my first child.  All this to say, at the beginning of my college journey, I was doing what I thought I would need to to provide for my future self.  I had no way of anticipating that my life would look so different by the end of my studies!  Secondly, the degree is not wasted.  I’ve known many women who were finally able to pursue the degree or career that they had in mind after the very high demands of a full-time stay at home parent were over.  I very well could pursue work in the field I originally passionately desired; my future is completely open to the possibility of pursuing a career in some form of justice for others, once my kids are grown and my season of daily sowing into them has come to an end. Everyone’s story ends differently, and I believe that’s part of what we can admire in a world of unique people, different interests and preferences, and the many paths that university degrees lead to.

Anything else you would like to tell someone who is interested in your degree or is already pursuing your degree?

In addition to the information above, I would like to encourage someone in my degree to consider working a job that is relative to your pursued degree.  I worked at a law firm during my studies, and it was incredibly helpful.  The things I was learning at school had much to do with the court proceedings I was witnessing at my job.  I only worked part-time; usually two days a week at the firm, and three days a week of classes on campus.  But the part-time work was the perfect balance of maintaining a minor income, and more importantly, seeing my lessons from school in action.  I understood some of my school concepts much better when through the lens of the attorneys I worked for.  Even if you aren’t getting paid, and you’re putting time into an internship of some sort that’s relative to your studies, it would be incredibly helpful in applying the lessons.  It’s like taking the words from a textbook and seeing them applied in the real world.  It’s not necessary, but it is incredibly helpful and beneficial, in my opinion.

Thank you so much for your insight Carly! Join us again next week to hear from a Biblical Studies major! 

College Interview Series Pt. 2 – Biology with an emphasis in pre-physician assistant

Welcome back to the College Interview Series! I hope you enjoyed Da’Shaee sharing about her behavioral health science degree in last week’s post. Today we’ve got Mackenzie here to talk about her biology degree with an emphasis in pre-physician assistant (PA). Mackenzie is such a sweet, kind person, and I am confident her future patients will love her as much as I do!

Why did you choose your degree?

I chose this major because I thought that it would give me a leg-up when applying to PA programs and it covered all the pre-requisites.

What kinds of courses do you have to take? What kinds of assignments do you have to do a lot of (tests, papers, lab reports, etc.)?

I take primarily science courses- like chemistry and biology and these are generally very exam heavy and the accompanying labs often have lab reports.

What has been the hardest part of your degree?

Due to how competitive PA programs are, the hardest part is keeping a high GPA despite the difficult science classes. A competitive GPA is around 3.75 but the higher the better.

What is your favorite part of your degree?

My favorite part of my degree is how relevant it is to the career which I am pursuing; I love the challenge of it and knowing that what I learn today I’ll use down the road when I am a PA.

Do you have a favorite subject/course within your major?

I love chemistry. I loved CHM-115, and I’m falling in love with organic chemistry. With rigor comes a sense of accomplishment.

How do you study best?

I am a visual learner, so I typically study the best by creating charts or writing down a difficult concept and how they relate to one another. Additionally, like anyone else, homework helps me study a lot- practice makes perfect!

What skills should someone develop if they want to pursue your degree?

They should develop a strong work ethic. It’s mandatory if a person wants to be a Pre-PA major.

What are your next steps after graduation?

I will likely take a gap year in order to accrue more patient care hours as a CNA and then I will apply to a few different PA programs.

Anything else you would like to tell someone who is interested in your degree or is already pursuing your degree?

It’s a very hard major, but also a really fulfilling one. If PA is the goal, I would totally recommend it!

Thank you for your insight Mackenzie! I especially love how you said that “With rigor comes a sense of accomplishment.” This is so true, no matter what your major is!

Come back next Monday to hear from a justice studies major!

College Interview Series Pt. 1- Behavioral Health Science

Welcome to the College Interview series! As a college student myself, I know that choosing a major can be, well…difficult, grueling, and exhausting. It is impossible to know what a program really entails by just reading the course descriptions. To REALLY find out what it’s like, you’ve got to talk to someone who’s been there, done that! Well, this series will help clear up the confusion. I’ve got a bunch of friends (and one family member) who are going to jump on here and tell you all about their degrees!!

First up, we have got Da’Shaee, a behavioral health science major with a minor in honors, communications, and human case management. I met Da’Shaee in one of my honors courses during my first semester at Grand Canyon University. Da’Shaee is the kind of person who can make ANYTHING fun! She’s got spunk and enthusiasm galore. I am so grateful to have her in my life and especially grateful that she was willing to do this interview, so take it away Da’Shaee!!!

Why did you choose your degree?

Starting off, I had no clue what I wanted to do or the career field I wanted to go in; the only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to change people’s lives. My GCU admissions representative at the time, made me take a couple of personality and career quizzes that GCU provided. She sat down with me and analyzed what the results meant. Because of her, I was put in the direction of behavioral health science. This degree differs from most psychology and counseling degrees because it focuses on a broad overview of the different paths that I could take with my degree rather than specific careers.

What kinds of courses do you have to take? What kinds of assignments do you have to do a lot of (tests, papers, lab reports, etc.)?

Most of my courses are more essay based than test-based because, with the human behavioral field, lots of research and reports are being conducted. Some of the assignments that you will see will be about writing papers on researched theories or techniques in counseling. Afterward, you will be tested based on the topics that were covered in lecture materials.

What has been the hardest part of your degree?

The hardest part of my degree has been balancing the time. Not only am I a full-time student, but I am a part-time worker and part of other programs that GCU offers. Whether it is writing a major essay or studying for a quiz, I must make sure that I am putting in a decent amount of time to accomplish everything.

What is your favorite part of your degree?

My favorite part of this degree is learning the various options that I can do in the behavioral health field. Knowing the different counseling techniques and the types of jobs that I can do if I further my education is important. I have learned that the types of jobs can vary because there are so many things that you can do as a service worker and there are many kinds of ways that you can help people.

How do you study best?

I study best by writing things down on a flashcard and then studying those flashcards. for me, writing things down always helps me store that information.

What skills should someone develop if they want to pursue your degree?

Skills that a person needs to develop deals a lot with morality and leadership. They need to be a good listener, great problem solver, unafraid to speak out and be able to take the lead in any conversation. This person also needs to be culturally aware, to not be ethnocentric or let religious beliefs or other moral values dictate how they help people. They need to want to have the desire to want to help someone instead of the money. Unfortunately, many human social services pay very little which is sad because people such as therapists, teachers, and other mentors shape future generations.

What are your next steps after graduation?

I would like to go on to become a mental health counselor for children who are suffering from physical and mental disabilities.

Anything else you would like to tell someone who is interested in your degree or is already pursuing your degree?

Do not be afraid to ask questions. With this degree, it can be tricky figuring out what you want to do. You are not sure whether you are qualified to do specific jobs, and in most cases, you will need to pursue a masters or doctoral degree. Figure out if furthering your education is beneficial to you and if it is, make sure that whatever accredited grad school you attend, it aligns and accepts this degree.

Thank you Da’Shaee for telling us all about your major! Come back next Monday to hear from a Biology major with an emphasis in pre-physician assistant!