Students of SPU: Ahead of the game

Student prepares for graduation after only two years of college

Perris Larson, Staff Reporter

Samantha Swayze participated in Running Start while in high school, allowing her to graduate two years early. (Courtesy of Samantha Swayze)

Graduating from college is both exciting and stressful. Most students are able to move further into the world after four years of college experience under their belt. That is not the case for students like Politics, Philosophy, Economics (PPE) graduate Samantha Swayze, who participated in Running Start.

“It feels like I just got here because I have only been here two years,” explained Swayze.

Running Start is a program in Washington that allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college courses during high school to achieve college credits. This saves students money, and, as a result, allows them to graduate college early.

Swayze does not regret her decision to participate in the program, but does acknowledge that it added quite a bit of stress to her life.

“Deciding on Running Start as a 16 year old, you don’t know how you’re going to think as a 20 year old. I wish someone had mapped out all of the consequences for me,” said Swayze.

While it may be extra stressful, Swayze does have a plan for after graduation. She chose a concentration in law with her PPE major and hopes to become a lawyer someday, but until then, she is nervous just to find any job.

“It’s scary looking for a job, especially graduating two years early,” said Swayze. “I’m lucky because I have a general sense of where I want to end up.”

Even though her time at Seattle Pacific University was short–even shorter because of the pandemic–Swayze is thankful for the time she had here.

“SPU was a perfect fit. I met amazing friends and had a good support system, but six months in we all left because of COVID-19. So I only had a year on campus,” said Swayze. “I’m excited to be graduating, but I feel like there were other things that I wish I could have accomplished.”

Swayze has always been a go-getter, wanting to accomplish as much as possible. Even her motivation for doing Running Start was because she wanted another academic challenge.

Although she enjoys a challenge, not everything was difficult for her. Her time at SPU was an unforgettable, enjoyable season of life. She already has her cap and gown, ready to graduate and move on to the next chapter of her life, whatever that may hold.

“I missed out on high school experience because of Running Start, so the college experience was really fun,” said Swayze.