University students return
Shepherdstown will bustle once more.
Now that the holidays have come to an end, Shepherd University students have returned for spring semester, some for the very last time.
For Gillian Maxwell, a second-year history major and year-round resident of Shepherdstown, life around town isn’t quite the same during the nearly month-long break students take from classes in the winter.
Maxwell recently began working in a local bakery and has found Shepherdstown more peaceful without its student population.
“Business is definitely slower when students are gone,” she said.
Maxwell, who spent a portion of her break back home in Wheeling, said she looked forward to returning to Shepherdstown and feels eager to start classes this semester.
“I like starting over fresh. New year. New challenges. New classes,” she said.
While Maxwell gears up to take her first upper-level classes this spring, other students are finishing the last leg of the race toward graduation.
John Pearrell, a senior business major, said he’s just worried about getting through what may be his toughest semester yet in hopes that soon enough he’ll be a graduate.
“Turns out I need 21 credits to graduate, so this semester will be very rough,” he said.
Eager to finish up, Pearrell, who considers himself a “carefree person,” described this coming semester as the last hurdle to jump before freedom.
“I just want to get out and do my own thing.”
Originally from Inwood, Pearrell looks forward to moving on.
“I’ve been here my whole life. That’s probably why I’m excited to leave,” he said.
Though Pearrell expresses hopeful optimism about the future, not every senior is feeling quite so ready.
According to Jenna Zelkowski, a senior graphic design student, this semester marks the beginning of her countdown toward graduation. Though she’s enthusiastic, she already feels uneasy about facing the real world.
“It’s exciting and terrifying … it’s time to get my act together before I graduate,” she said.
For Zelkowski, who said she fell into her position as manager of the information center rather arbitrarily, finding work in her field of study after graduation is a major concern.
“I’m definitely nervous about the job search,” she said.
Zelkowski predicts a challenging road to employment and considers graduate school a potential option.
“Everywhere, they’re looking for three to five years experience, but how do you get that experience when no one is hiring?” she said.
In the meantime, Zelkowski looks forward to spending the summer after graduation in Shepherdstown, a place she said has greatly impacted her life.
“I’m never afraid to be myself here. I feel like it’s a really positive environment and it’s changed me for the better.”