Senior Adriana Hollifield found a new passion and a new home at Lees-McRae

Senior Adriana Hollifield always knew that she wanted to attend a four-year college after she graduated from her early college high school, but what she didn’t know is that two years would be all it took for her to find a new home and a new passion.

“I think it was 10th grade when my school took us on a big field trip to a bunch of colleges and let us see the campuses. Lees-McRae was one of them, and I just remember stepping on the campus and it felt like home,” Hollifield said.

The Marion, North Carolina native is majoring in Psychology with hopes of becoming a school counselor, a goal she is well on her way to achieving. Hollifield is currently working at Banner Elk Elementary, a position which she plans to keep after graduation.

“I’m hoping to focus on school counseling,” Hollifield said. “I work at Banner Elk Elementary, and act as a tutor as well as work with the counselor getting to know how she does her job and understanding all the different hats she wears. I don’t really have a specific age group that I want to work with. Right now, I’m working with elementary students, but I’d like to work with middle and high school students as well.”

Through attending an early college high school Hollifield was able to earn two years of college credits while earning her high school diploma, allowing her to begin her journey at Lees-McRae as a junior. While she has only been a Bobcat for two years, Hollifield has had no shortage of involvement on campus. She is a part of the Delta Zeta Nu (DZN) sorority, Bobcat Mentor Network, and Students Today Alumni Tomorrow (STAT).

“The people that are here really make every memory that you create a memorable one,” Hollifield said. “Just being in a sorority where you get to meet lots of girls and really get to know them was really special. It’s hard when you get to college, and you’re in a new place to get to know people, but as soon as I entered DZN there were multiple girls who I felt comfortable talking to almost immediately.”

While getting involved on campus helped Hollifield make the transition from early college to Lees-McRae, she said it will also help her remain connected to the campus once she graduates.

“My desire to stay connected with the college after graduation was the main reason I joined STAT,” Hollifield said. “As an alumnus it’s really important to get to know not only past students, but future students as well because they are the ones who are going to shape the future of the school.”

Hollifield said that all the experiences she had and the people she met have had a positive influence on her time at Lees-McRae. She has a lot of great memories, skills, and lessons to take with her into her future, but Hollifield says that she values the relationships she has built with her professors the most.

“The biggest thing that Lees-McRae has provided me with are two amazing teachers, Dr. Hart and Dr. Carson, who have really just shown me how to work in the psychology field,” Hollifield said. “My teachers have definitely put me in the place that I am right now. I give my entire thanks to Dr. Carson and Dr. Hart. They are wonderful teachers, and they have shaped who I am just in the past two years.”

Carson and Hart have even been assisting Hollifield with her graduate school applications, a process that she is currently undergoing. Hollifield is applying to school counseling master’s programs at Appalachian State University and Western Carolina University. These programs, which would earn her a Master of Arts in Education (MAEd), would give her the flexibility to teach, work as a counselor in a school, or even work in a private practice.

“When it comes to applying to graduate school, I haven’t felt confused for a single second, because I have been able to go to Dr. Carson and ask him what I need to do to prepare. I felt very comfortable asking them for references,” Hollifield said. “App State hasn’t gotten back to me yet, but their graduate application period doesn’t end until mid-March, so I should hear back soon. I have my in-person interview for Western next week. Hopefully that goes well!”

By Maya JarrellMarch 10, 2022
Campus Life