Middleton returns to gain graduate degrees
February 7, 2014
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In May 2013, Quinterra Middleton graduated from Francis Marion University (FMU) with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and returned to the university as a student to pursue her Master’s and specialist’s degrees.
Middleton said that while she learned a lot from FMU in her undergraduate years, she actually enrolled “on a whim.”
“I had never visited the campus, went to orientation or done anything like that,” Middleton said. “I applied, Ms. Maggie Gause was my admissions counselor, and I just jumped right in and started classes.”
Middleton did not just commit herself to academics when she began college, but also to campus life through involvement in various organizations.
“I literally started joining organizations my first semester and have been a part of 13 of them so far,” Middleton said.
She added that for her, FMU was a turning point because she was not as involved in high school as she has been in college.
In addition to excelling academically during her time as an undergraduate, Middleton also participated in the Ms. FMU pageant and was the first runner-up.
“I decided to enter the pageant because Ms. Sherry [former assistant director of housing] told me to,” Middleton said. “I was reluctant because I had never seen a Ms. FMU pageant or really even heard of one, but I had participated in the Ms. Black and Gold pageant previously. Ms. FMU was different because it wasn’t just for the ‘black community.’”
Middleton also won the Mike Jordan psychology award for students that the faculty believes could make a contribution to the field as well as the Pride of the Patriot award.
One difference that Middleton noted between being an undergraduate student and a graduate student was the relationship between student and teacher.
“[As a graduate student] you are more like friends with your professors,” Middleton said. “They [professors] aren’t just people who teach the class, but actual resources for you to use if you are confused.”
Middleton used her professors as resources before she began her graduate program at FMU as well. She said that as an undergraduate, she was unsure of her future plans before one of her professors, Dr. Robert Bridgers, assistant professor of psychology, pushed her.
“I stopped and talked to [Bridgers] one day and said, ‘You’re picking on me. Why are you picking on me,’” Middleton said. “He said, ‘I can see you doing so much better.’”
Middleton said that for him to encourage her in that way made her see that she could do something special and realized that she wanted to continue her education to become a school psychologist.
Middleton added that her decision to return to FMU was fueled by her knowledge of the professors concern for her success.
“They really care and want the best for you and not every [student] can say that [about their professors],” Middleton said. “There is no guarantee that if you go to a different school, the professors will feel the same way.”
After completing her Master’s and specialist’s degrees, Middleton plans to work in a different location, but wants to return to South Carolina eventually.
“I want to go and experience different school districts and different states to see if I can bring anything back to South Carolina that would be more productive and more effective and efficient,” Middleton said.