By Kat Elliott
Employee Eighmee Ferrill receives BA degree in Religious Studies
Eighmee Ferrill, academic info specialist in the Office of the Dean, recently received her BA in Religious Studies here at University of the Pacific. She faced many trials in her journey to finish her degree, particularly because while she was taking classes, she was also working as a full-time employee. This June will mark Eighmee’s 11th year as a Pacific employee.
For Eighmee, the idea of going back to school was daunting at first, as it had been ten years since she last took classes at a college. But she was inspired to get her BA by her coworker, who had also begun taking classes. That, in addition to her own determination and her parents’ desire for her to get her degree, all factored into her decision to go back to school.
Taking all of her general education courses turned out to be very important to Eighmee, as it offered her the chance to explore different subjects and get a well-rounded education. Professor Carrie Schroeder’s Religion of the Pharaohs class interested Eighmee from the very beginning, but it also compelled her to take another Religions course, this time with Professor Alan Lenzi. The class, Ancient Egypt and the Near East, was a particularly eye opening experience for Eighmee, and she quickly learned just how different, yet surprisingly similar, various cultures and religions could be. She was excited to take the opportunity to get a more in-depth look at the world and its diverse peoples. Additionally, her professors’ enthusiasm appealed to Eighmee so much, that she ultimately decided to get her degree in Religious studies.
For Eighmee, Professor Alan Lenzi was highly influential in her decision to major in Religious Studies. Professor Lenzi’s kindness and conscientiousness encouraged Eighmee to ask him to be her faculty advisor. His complete support and expansive knowledge inspired Eighmee to try her hardest and be the best student she could possibly be.
Studying religion has helped Eighmee to improve her professional life, as it has given her a broader perspective on issues transpiring throughout the world and why they may be occurring. This also helps her to have a better understanding of people with diverse backgrounds, as she knows what may influence them. Academically, it has helped her to improve her writing skills and critically analyze a variety of issues. Regarding her personal life, Eighmee’s says her choice to study religion has changed her for the better. The knowledge she learned urged her to go on her own journey of self-discovery, exploring the numerous aspects of who she is and where she comes from.
To students who are facing the same dilemma of going back to school, Eighmee said that being a full-time employee and part-time student requires a lot of time management and self-discipline. She said that perseverance was fundamental to attaining her BA, but so was the support of her Pacific coworkers and friends. Making time for herself, not just school or work, was key to her success.
Despite the many doubts centered on getting a job after majoring in the humanities, Eighmee was never intimidated. “What’s on a diploma doesn’t define a person,” she said, “It’s the skills developed while getting your degree that matter in the end.” The opportunity to explore different subjects and study various perspectives are all very important factors for any job, no matter what field. For Eighmee, it was all about getting a degree in a subject that she loves, and being satisfied with her own choices.