Student Finds Formula to Succeed

July 9, 2024

From a first-generation college student to a future psychologist, Shirquita Craft’s journey at Eastern Washington University has been nothing short of inspiring.

Craft, a senior majoring in health psychology, is on the cusp of completing her bachelor’s degree. Her passion for learning and dedication to overcoming challenges have been key to her success. “I have worked hard my whole life because I believe that people should work for what they want in life,” she wrote in an appreciation letter to the Writers’ Center.

Craft’s path has not been without its hurdles. Diagnosed with both a learning disability and autism, she has faced significant difficulties in her studies. However, she remains undeterred, driven by a love for learning and a drive to make a difference as a future psychologist.

“I take a long time to do my homework, but I enjoy doing my assignments. So I’m motivated to keep going,” Craft shared in her letter.

A crucial support system for Craft has been the Writers’ Center at EWU. The center has played a pivotal role in helping her improve writing skills that are essential for her psychology coursework. “This is a great place to get support because I am enjoying all of the help that I get from the tutors there, who are called ‘responders’ and are all really nice,” she says.

One of the key figures in her academic journey is Ben Caldwell, a responder at the Writers’ Center, and an Eastern Master of Fine Arts graduate. “I am really grateful to Ben for helping with my writing because this will help further my education,” Craft notes in her letter.

Ben himself speaks highly of her dedication: “Working with Shirquita has been a joy these last couple of years because she loves learning and shows up to our regular meetings determined to grow a little bit more as a writer each time we meet. She is a perfect example of the students we help at the Writers’ Center: ambitious, driven, engaged, and still struggling with some aspects of expressing her ideas in writing. She is advancing steadily over time because she is aware that leading with curiosity is her best strategy to overcome the many challenges that college presents.”

Ben’s insights highlight Craft’s growth and persistence. “Like most of us find at some point in our journeys, it hasn’t always been easy for Shirquita to ask for help. But she has worked hard to find the courage to speak up, talk to her professors, advocate for herself, and build her professional communication skills. In our years working together, she has written dozens of papers and hundreds of emails, reports, and applications, and her progress over time is evident on the page to everyone who reads her work.”

Craft’s coursework has been extensive and diverse, including classes like Cultural Psychology; Happiness and Positive Psychology; Psychopathology in the Cinema; PTSD Psychology; Human Cognition; Abnormal Psychology; and Psychology of Intimate Relationships. For these courses, she has tackled various projects. “Working through these challenges with a responder has helped me grow in so many areas of writing,” she writes.

Looking to the future, Craft aspires to continue her education, aiming to become a psychologist specializing in treating mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. Her dedication to her goals is evident in her continued efforts to improve her writing and academic skills.

“I keep going to the Writers’ Center because I really enjoy learning everything, and I feel like my writing has come a long way,” she says.

Craft’s journey exemplifies the power of perseverance and the impact of a supportive educational environment.

“I want to thank everyone in college that has helped me so far to reach my goals in life, and especially the Writers’ Center and all of the other tutoring that I get from other university services,” she concludes.

With her unwavering dedication and the support of the Writers’ Center, Craft is well on her way to achieving her dream of making an impact for people with mental health disorders.