Head shot of Haley Shepard

Meet Haley Shepard ’20, Psychology

Growing up in Bentonville, Arkansas, I did not know William Woods existed until my mom encouraged me to go to a career fair. I was hesitant about going but went anyway. We went and talked to one of the Admissions counselors from William Woods. That night I started researching more about the university and knew I wanted to go there. We soon scheduled a visit and It went so well.

Everyone I met was so genuinely nice and you do not always get that on campus visits, especially at bigger campuses. That was one of the things that drew me to William Woods; the smaller size and the family atmosphere. I went to a really big high school, my graduating class was over 1,000 people. So it’s nice that everyone here knows each other.

Choosing a School and a Major
In high school, I took some Psychology classes and decided that this is what I wanted to do. I took all the Psychology classes I could to make sure I was prepared for college. My AP Psychology class my junior year of high school was my favorite class and that kind of confirmed that this was what I wanted to do.

A big reason I chose William Woods really was the size. But another really important factor was that after my visit, there were always people from here reaching out and checking in on me. Initially they just wanted to get to know me. I emailed a professor I met on campus as well as Admissions with questions I had, and they both responded very quickly and were so helpful through the whole experience. That’s something that is really unique here – everyone is so genuine and willing to help. I could call my Admissions counselor for anything and she would point me in the right direction.

A group of friends

How I Stay Busy
I spend a lot of time with my friends and my fiancé. I think being in college has helped me appreciate my friendships more and be more intentional about my friends. I have learned to put more time and energy into relationships. I also spend a good amount of time in the Brick District of Fulton. I go to Bek’s restaurant, get some spinach dip. I just really enjoy spending time with my people.

I am in the honors program. That takes a lot of time, but it’s one of my favorite things I have done here. I’ve met a lot of my friends through that program. I am also a University Ambassador and when I lead campus tours, I encourage students to apply for the honors program. Even if they don’t think they will be super comfortable in it, I still encourage it because I met my best friends through that. As a University Ambassador I spend a lot of my time in Admissions. I am also a Community Advisor for the freshmen residence hall, which is the best hall in my opinion. I’m on Dean’s Council and part of a campus Bible study as well.

I think I like being involved so much because of my high school experience. My high school was very big so it was hard to get involved. At William Woods there are so many options to get involved and you get to meet so many great people. Even during my freshmen year I started getting involved on campus. You have to go out and put in the effort. I like to be busy.

Haley Shepard reading a book in the library

Balancing Classes
I have been taking American Sign Language classes since my first semester. It’s not my major or my minor but I have always been intrigued by it. My mother taught my siblings and I a little bit of it growing up. I have just always been interested in Deaf culture. I also now know that I want to be a Speech Language Pathologist and it will be helpful in that career path. So seeing how that trickled in was really cool. Last semester, I also took a Careers in Psychology class with Caroline Boyer Ferhat. That was one of my most beneficial classes. I knew I wanted to do Psychology, but I had no idea what I wanted to do within the field and that class led me to the choice of being a Speech Language Pathologist.

I’m taking 18 credit hours right now. Just in general, at the start of every week, I open my planner. I used to keep everything in my brain but now I write everything down and make lists. I write down my classes, meetings and even LEAD events. By Monday, I have a plan of what I need to get done throughout the week and what is priority. On Monday I have classes all morning and one in the afternoon. Between those classes I eat at the Tucker Dining Hall. After my last class it’s straight to the library until dinner, unless of course I have a meeting.

Plans for the Future
I’ll graduate in December of 2020. I will then go to graduate school. I plan on getting my Masters, which is all you need for Speech Language Pathology. After school is complete, I would really like to work with newborns, which is a big area for Speech Language pathologists. I would be working in the NICU helping babies with swallowing and things like that. I love working with babies.

Haley Shepard and friend posing for a picture

What I’ve Learned from William Woods
I like to learn so the school aspect of William Woods has been fun for me. My organizational skills have grown so much. Like I said, I used to just keep everything in my head and now I’ve learned to write everything down and keep an organized list of what I need to do. That has helped me so much. Besides that, college has really taught me to appreciate friendships and appreciate my friends. I have learned how to be a better, more loving friend and that is really important to me. I have been more intentional with my friendships.

I feel like something really unique about our school is the one-on-one relationship we get with the professors. I think it’s because of our campus size. Getting to meet with different people in the department has been so helpful to my experience and I have learned so much from them. It has really molded my college experience.