A graduation story: looking back on four years at UNC

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UNC senior Hannah Beebe will speak at her graduation ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 8. Photo courtesy of Hannah Beebe.

UNC senior Hannah Beebe discusses the duality of her English and communciation studies calling

University of Northern Colorado senior Hannah Beebe saw a challenge and took it. After weighing how scared she would be with how proud she would feel if she did it — and deciding she would be disappointed in herself if she did not try for it at all — she took the risk and applied to speak on behalf of her graduating class. She made the cut.

“I am the weirdest kind of adrenaline junkie. In that, it’s not jumping off cliffs or skiing double blacks, or going to foreign countries where I don’t speak the language, alone, and just doing my best,” Beebe said. “For me, public speaking gives such an adrenaline high and I love it because it scares the heck out of me.”

Even though she wanted to take a risk, Beebe said she does have a message she wants to share with her fellow graduates.

“Essentially, my goal is to remind my fellow students that each of us, as an individual, are important and what we do matters, and it is our responsibility going out into the next part of our lives to craft the society we want to live in,” Beebe said.

She has been crafting her speech through the extemporaneous format, which is form of public speaking that is limitedly prepared and often gauges audience reaction to direct where the speech goes. Beebe said each time she gives her speech will likely differ from the last in some way.

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On Saturday, Hannah Beebe will receive her bachelor’s degree in English liberal arts and communication studies with a concentration in human communication.

According to Beebe, she learned to read at the age of three years old without any prior instruction, to the great surprise of her parents. She had a natural inclination towards literature which has carried through to her obtaining her bachelor’s degree.

“I came in as an English major, actually, with a writing minor because English was what I was always good at in school,” Beebe said. “I love to read; I love to write.”

In 2017, her second semester of sophomore year, Beebe considered changing minors, including possibly pursuing a double minor. Even though she had taken several of the classes within the writing minor, she decided to take a leap and pursue communication studies instead. For her, from workload to schedule conflicts, it made more sense to drop the writing minor.

“It strengthened my nonfiction writing to understand creative writing,” Beebe said. “I want to produce writing people want to read. It helps you stand out a little bit, I think, to have that knowledge of how to use figurative language in a way that’s not overpowering.”

According to Beebe, her interest in the English field influenced her choice to pursue communication studies. She said she feels that even though the two majors are distinctly different from each other, the emphasis on understanding humanity piqued her interest in both and often overlapped in her classes.

“Now leaving, I am just as passionate about communication studies,” Beebe said. “If you told me to pick which one I liked better, I couldn’t do it. I love them both.”

Beebe was born and raised in Colorado Springs. She grew up 15 minutes north of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus. Beebe likes to say her high school was her kitchen, as she was homeschooled. During her senior year, she was able to take college credit classes at Pikes Peak Community College through dual enrollment. She earned 17 credits, which is why she can graduate after three and a half years at UNC.

“I think my education prepared me just as much, if not more than, public school education prepares students for college because I had to learn how to manage my own time and meet the deadlines for myself a lot earlier,” Beebe said.

“I’m really glad I chose UNC,” Beebe said. “I’ve grown so much here in a way I don’t think I would have at other schools because of the community on campus… I have had so many different types of people that I’ve been able to call close friends over my time at UNC.”

Beebe intends to take a gap year before pursuing a graduate degree in communication studies.

“I feel like, for me as a person, communication studies is the major the pushes me further outside of my comfort zone. That’s kind of my goal. I don’t want to get complacent and just float through because it’s the same thing I’ve been doing my entire life.”

UNC’s graduate program is her top choice right now. According to Beebe, she has her eyes on a few classes that she did not get to take as an undergraduate and she is most interested in a teacher assistantship for UNC graduate students. While Beebe said she isn’t sure what she’ll eventually get her doctorate degree in, her ultimate goal is to be a professor at a university.

“I would rather go back into school feeling refreshed and motivated,” Beebe said.

Beebe will speak at both graduation ceremonies at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 in the Bank of Colorado Arena at Butler Hancock Athletic Center.

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