Exceptional seniors

Graduating seniors reflect on their time at Ferris

Graphic by: Sarah Massey | Production Assistant

As the end of the 2016-17 school year quickly approaches, seniors are taking time to reflect on their years at Ferris.

Ferris early childhood education senior and Grand Rapids native Faith Speigner has been in love with Ferris since the moment she stepped on campus for her first visit.

“I chose my major because I have always loved children and with my patience, I am great around children,” Speigner said. “I have learned that time has no end and if you don’t know what you want to do as a career, that’s OK. What’s important is you take the time when you’re ready.”

With a minor in psychology and another minor in French, Speigner aspires to move out of the state and open her own business before the end of the year.  

“One of my biggest challenges was finding an internship,” Speigner said. “It does require extra time, but it is worth it in the end.”

Speigner said that if she could have done things differently, she would change the fact that she lived off campus.

“It was a great experience. But living on campus was the highlight of my school year and if I could, I wish would live in East Campus,” Speigner said. “I have never stayed in that on campus apartment. I have [lived] in West Campus housing, but I feel like I am missing the full Bulldog experience.”

Another senior deserving of recognition is Ferris nursing senior and Grand Rapids native Tania Gonzalez. She chose Ferris for it’s size and proximity to home. In her junior year of high school, her counselor referred her to a technical center in Grand Rapids that had an affiliation with Ferris, allowing her to complete college credits while still in high school.

“I decided to come to Ferris and I loved it,” Gonzalez said.

During her time at Ferris, Gonzalez worked as a tour guide and founded the Ferris chapter of her sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma, which is a latina-based social sorority. Previously, she was involved with the Hispanic Student Organization (HSO) and the Ferris Student Nurses Association.

“I’m glad I got involved. It just made me network a little more. It lets me meet new people and actually make friends because, when I first came, I didn’t know anybody,” Gonzalez said. “See what’s out there. Get involved.”

Gonzalez, a current certified nursing assistant, said that she’s loved the healthcare field since she was a child. When Gonzalez was in high school, a friend was hospitalized and, upon multiple visits to the hospital, Gonzalez made the final decision to go into nursing.

“I’d always observe the nurses and see what they did,” Gonzalez said. “This really interests me. I want to be able to help people and interact with patients all the time, so I think that’s when I fully decided nursing.”

After graduating, Gonzalez wants to gain experience as a nurse on a medical and surgical floor, followed by working at the Helen Devos Center and—one day—returning to school to get her masters.

As a first generation college student, Gonzalez admits that attending college was quite confusing.

“I always had my mind set that I wanted to go to college. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know how to pay for it, I didn’t know anything about FAFSA,” Gonzalez said. “I came in blindsided because I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Fortunately, Gonzalez seeked resources from the Hispanic Center in Grand Rapids, where she learned how to fill out FAFSA and other forms for college.

“I really enjoyed my time at Ferris, I really did,” Gonzalez said.