Natalie Vermeulen
Student Writer

Many students come to college expecting the typical four-year experience—years planned with classes and community to guide them toward life after graduation. For some students, however, plans change, and the “real world” finds them sooner than they might have expected. While some of us at Messiah look forward to December as a welcome mid-year break, others prepare to graduate and see what God has next in store.

Senior sociology/anthropology major Hannah Straubel.

Hannah Straubel is a senior sociology/anthropology major with a TESOL minor, who had not originally planned an early graduation. After studying abroad, Straubel decided to take two years off school to work in England. She then came back to Messiah with a better understanding of herself and what she wants her life to be.

Although she is nervous and uncertain about choosing her next path, Straubel says she wants to move abroad again, either to South America, Asia or Europe and she looks forward to “newness and opportunities, for a life in another country and for the potential that this brings.”

Senior marketing major Sarah Weber.

Sarah Weber, a senior marketing major, is graduating this December because her college experience has fulfilled her, and she is ready to “move on to adulthood and out of the so-called ‘bubble.’” Her classes worked in just the right way to allow her to finish early, and she is now applying for full-time positions.

Weber hopes to become involved in the Anheuser-Busch development program, or digital marketing in the tech industry, and she is excited to encounter new experiences and new people, and to finally get a dog!

Senior business administration major Gabe Holguin.

Gabe Holguin is a senior business administration major with an economics minor, and his early graduation was not planned, but a culmination of his college experiences. Holguin graduated high school a year early and went to community college during his last year of high school as well as the year after. Holguin then transferred to Messiah and decided to participate in the International Business Institute last summer, which counted as another school semester.

This all added up to graduating from Messiah a year and a half early. Holguin says, “[I’m] definitely excited to be out of school and start getting on with the rest of my life and getting on my own two feet. Definitely nervous because I don’t really know 100% what I want to be doing.” Holguin hopes to get an internship at a microfinance company called Hope International, and is excited for the opportunities this might bring.

As these students begin choosing paths beyond graduation, all of them have reflected on what they will miss about Messiah: the opportunities to grow, new experiences to explore, and, most of all, the strong community. But as Holguin points out, “you can still keep those relationships beyond Messiah.”