Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Perseverance in the non-traditional student experience inspires 2016 graduation reflection speaker



By public relations student writer Madison Corbin

Graduating senior Elizabeth Gumm will deliver the reflection speech at Ohio University Chillicothe’s Recognition of Graduation ceremony on April 29. Gumm will celebrate the completion of a bachelor’s degree in specialized studies; her particular field of focus is child and family advocacy. 

“I chose to pursue an education at Ohio University-Chillicothe at a time when I was working as a very low paid preschool teacher with no benefits, working 10- to 12-hour days and spending very little time with my family,” said Gumm. “I soon found that I had a greater desire to learn more about the field in which I was working.”

Gumm’s degree spans topics of education, counseling, communication and social work. The expansive nature of a bachelor’s degree in specialized studies requires independent diligence on the part of the student and exceptional guidance on the part of the faculty members involved.

“My time on the OU-C campus has, without a doubt, aided my success as a student, as a professional and as an individual,” said Gumm. “The positive advice, support and understanding from the advisors, professors and staff in general have been amazing.”

In her reflection speech, Gumm plans to celebrate the versatility of roles OU-C students fulfill. She expresses gratitude for the inclusive campus atmosphere that allows students at all stages of life to succeed. A parent herself, Gumm emphasizes a special appreciation for the family-oriented environment the university provides. 

“This idea is particularly important to me because I know firsthand what it’s like to be a college student taking on many other roles in life,” said Gumm. “When I first started college, I had no idea how I’d do it or if I’d be successful. What I did know was that I wanted something better for myself and my family.”

Gumm’s personal experience is reflective of many OU-C non-traditional student success stories. “Being a wife and mother to six children while attending college full-time is certainly no walk in the park . . . OU-C has been a place where I’ve not only grown as a professional, but as a competent mother as well.”

Dedication to the best possible outcome for her family and the perseverance required in achieving it have inspired Gumm’s academic journey. This goal-oriented form of motivation is one with which her fellow graduates can empathize.

“Though we wear many hats, they all have a significant meaning,” said Gumm. “In this case, it is the hat of perseverance, the hat of dedication, and the hat of preparation that has helped us reach our goal and for many like myself, a dream. That dream is to be able wear my graduation hat.”
Gumm regards being selected as the reflection speaker with humility and excitement. “It was humbling just to be nominated, that alone is a wonderful feeling,” she said. “To be selected is a huge honor; it has taken a great deal of perseverance, dedication and preparation to get to this point.”

Following graduation, Gumm plans to seek employment and pursue graduate school. Her primary aspiration, however, pertains to the effect her graduation may have on others.

“My wish is for my children to learn the importance of higher education and following their dreams, even in the face of adversity. I want to inspire my classmates to continue to do even greater things in their future. Last but not least, I want to leave friends, family and the entire OU-C community knowing that without them, our success as college students graduating would not be possible.”

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