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  • Eternal Flame

Senior Year: New Beginnings Ahead

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

By: Baylee Etheridge


You are moving into your dorm for the first time, hanging up decorations and putting fresh new sheets on your twin bed. You tell your parents goodbye and you are stuck roaming the sidewalks of a new campus uncertain of what’s to come. Let’s not forget the nerves of attending the first classes and the excitement of making new friends. But somehow those anxious feelings take a turn. You blink once and boom, life happens. The dorms have turned into apartments, the unfamiliar buildings turned into too familiar classrooms and strangers turned into close friends. You’re now a senior in college.

“It happens in a blink of an eye, just yesterday I felt like I was moving to WT and now I’m applying to nursing schools,” says Gracie Shubert, a Senior nursing major from Roswell, New Mexico. She came to West Texas A&M after transferring from Eastern New Mexico State her sophomore year.

Shubert says that her path has been different than most, she wouldn’t change a single experience in her college career. Mostly because she’s been dedicated to her studies since day one. If she had to describe the way she felt about her senior year she would say, “Invested”. She has set the goal to invest fully into her studies and finish out her last year strong. In a year, full of COVID she wasn’t going to let that get in the way of her education. “Trying to become a nurse in a huge pandemic is not easy. Especially when you are a senior in college but I’m trying to make the best of it whether that be zoom meetings or social distancing practices.” Shubert is on track to become a BSN, RN and wants to specialize in trauma or pediatrics. Throughout her three years on campus, she says that her senior year has been the most eye opening because she’s so close to the real world and putting what she’s learning on campus to use on people. “Even though I’m anxious for what’s to come, I’m thankful for WT for instilling so much knowledge into me so that I can go help people who are in need, we need it bad these days.”

Just like Shubert, Kelby O’Brein is completing his last year at WT, but the animal science major has had a bit of a different journey. Lamesa, Texas is where O’Brein calls home, just a few hours shy of Canyon. He grew up in the agriculture industry raising and showing livestock, specifically pigs. His passion for the industry is what led him to West Texas A&M out of high school.

O’Brein has many thoughts about his last few semesters but uncertainty is his biggest one. “In your younger years, you can change your major as much as you want. But there comes a day when you must choose. The fact that I’m a semester away from having to find a job creates a bit of stress that lingers. I wish I knew what was to come, it wouldn’t feel so uncertain then.” O’Brein helps manage show pigs in Canyon and is also a member of the livestock and meat animal evaluation teams at WT. Trying to maintain good grades and do well in his extracurricular is something that has been challenging to him.

“Judging has helped ease the nerves I have felt since starting back after COVID because I’m around my friends and I’m able to travel the country.” O’Brein says that Covid has really affected him the past few months because shows have been shut down and distance learning is difficult for him. Even though he lives closer than most, he was excited to get to come back to campus and finish out strong before he graduates.


Similar to O’Brein, Mollie Green is no stranger to the Ag program. A member of the livestock judging, horse judging, and equestrian team she knows firsthand how to juggle college and extracurriculars. She says “ I’m really excited for what’s to come. I am looking forward to getting my masters after I finish my bachelors next semester. Even though I will still be on campus I will really miss the friends and relationships with my teams that I acquired over the years.” Mollie has loved WT and the opportunities that she has gotten in Canyon. Her family raises Brangus cattle in Arizona but she is from Cleveland, Ohio. She has always had an agriculture background but the options the college has given her has inspired her to obtain her masters hopefully in nutrition. Mollie says that the friends, coaches and professors at WT have really pushed her to be who she is today and she is ready to see what life brings these next few years.

These three, just like most seniors have nerves and are anxious about what is to come after they leave the classroom and step into the workplace. But like O’Brein says “This is what we’ve come here for, to get an education that will prepare us for a job. It’s scary but it’s worth it.”

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