Kristina Cravens

Friday, December 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:05 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kristina Cravens has taken advantage of almost all of the academic programs offered at Columbia College. At 24, she is a day student majoring in psychology with a minor in business.

“It has been nice to have the flexibility,” Cravens said. “I want to finish my education. It is a priority for me.”

In 2000, Cravens transferred to Columbia College from William Woods University and began taking night classes and working full time for U.S. Wireless.

“The night program was nice. I worked full time, and they were willing to work with that,” Cravens said. “They really understood what the real world was all about.”

During that time, Cravens rekindled a relationship with a high school friend who is in the military. The couple moved to Fort Hood, Texas, in March 2002.

“I decided since we were engaged, I would pack up and move with him, since I could continue my education through distance education,” Cravens said. “You have to be very self-motivated for distance education. I was in Texas, and I was determined to keep going. I was not about to drop out.”

Cravens took online classes before returning to Columbia after her husband was stationed in Iraq. She started taking summer classes in April and plans to graduate in December 2005. She hopes to use her degree to become a counselor for adolescents.

“I would like to be a good role model for middle school and high school students during that tough time in growing up,” Cravens said. “I want to make a difference.”

With her husband in Iraq, Cravens keeps herself busy by taking 18 credit hours, working part time at GNC in Columbia Mall and relaying his calls to family.

“He is my first priority when it comes to it all,” Cravens said. “He is doing such an honorable thing. It makes me really proud.”

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