Major life decision, challenges guide student to earn degree ahead of schedule

Alyxis HarperSport and exercise psychology student Alyxis Harper started her freshman year at WVU in August 2013 and had to overcome a significant challenge to complete her degree. Harper was scheduled to graduate in June 2017, however, a life-changing event in her first year forced Harper to reevaluate her plans, including the possibility of deciding to drop out of school.  

Harper became pregnant during her second semester and refused any option other than to have and keep her baby. “Having a baby could have changed my college career and my ability to complete college at all, however, when I was faced with this challenge, my parents came to my rescue and agreed to take care of my baby so I could complete college,” Harper explained.

“I gave birth in August 2014 and was back at WVU when the fall semester began. My parents and I agreed it was critical for me to obtain my degree and they readily chose to take care of my beautiful daughter as I completed my schooling,” she added.

  The family stayed connected through visits and technology. “We face-timed. I went home when I could and my parents and daughter came to visit me at WVU whenever possible. I worked hard, took a heavy work load each semester as well as summer school classes and maintained a good GPA. I am now getting ready to graduate in December 2016, a full semester early,” Harper said.  

Harper credits her family and their support for her academic achievements. “This life-changing, challenging event could have turned out to be a tragic one for me and my daughter had my parents and family not agreed to support me. I am grateful for their help and grateful for WVU for the education I received.

“I am particularly grateful to my professors who afforded me the knowledge I needed, especially Dr. Giacobbi, who pushed me well beyond my comfort zone to accomplish things I would never have thought I could accomplish. I also thank the Women of WVU for awarding me a grant to attend the 2016 Women’s Health Conference in Colorado to present a research poster. Attendance at this conference was an immense learning experience,” Harper stated.

“This has been a wonderful 3½ years during which I overcame a significant challenge to reach my goal of obtaining a college degree. I will remember my time at WVU with fondness and gratitude,” Harper concluded. 

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