Rhys Watkins Crafts Personal Education, Graduates with Three Degrees
One of the many advantages of Lebanon Valley College is the vast number of educational opportunities available to students. With more than 40 different majors to choose from, students are encouraged to major and minor in more than one subject. Rhys Watkins ’16 exceeded the expectations of both his high school and college instructors by becoming the College’s first quadruple major to graduate with three separate degrees.
“My journey started while I was in high school when, having all three forms of dyslexia as well as dysgraphia, I was told that I should not even waste my time going to a regular college and should apply to trade schools, as I would be unable to complete a four-year degree,” explains Watkins.
Using these criticisms and his love for the sciences as motivation, Watkins entered college to study biochemistry. Soon after, he transitioned to the chemistry program, as it had a more direct focus on math and analytics. Despite the changes, Watkins found that he still missed the business classes he took in high school.
“This is where the full vision came into play,” recalls Watkins. “I chose to pursue multiple degrees to achieve a well-rounded education for future applications within the business world.”
Each of the majors provided Watkins with a different skill set that he could offer to employers. His business, chemistry, and accounting courses laid a strong foundation for his education, refining his critical thinking and analytical abilities. His study in economics allowed him to gain an understanding of the bigger picture of markets, research, and model and equation creation within the world of business.
“I believe that each of my majors informs my worldview in complementary ways, which allows me to form more effective and holistic solutions,” states Watkins.
The opportunity to participate in several immersive experiences facilitated further development of Watkins’ skills.
“Some of my most memorable moments included leading and presenting the class competition case study for Strategic Management, being part of a team of consultants for the Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management class, and any of the large research-focused projects that I either had to write or present–all of which were key in applying skills learned while in the classroom,” he says.
Although his academic coursework could be demanding, one of the biggest challenges was often scheduling the necessary upper-level courses to complete each degree. However, the College’s small size allowed Watkins to have support from professors and staff when addressing difficult scheduling needs and academic regulations.
Watkins remembers the uncertainty and unpredictability that surrounded each year: “My schedule for all four years or even a year at a time was never fully charted out due to the changing nature of class availability, overlapping classes, and courses I would take over the summer.”
Despite the challenges, Watkins feels that the experience has been very satisfying.
“To anyone who wants to try to pursue an ambitious academic plan: it is extremely rewarding and worth every second in the end. Be confident in yourself, don’t worry about what others have to say, and there is an end, even if it doesn’t feel like it,” Watkins advises.
Watkins is currently traveling, fielding multiple career opportunities, and building international contacts with the goal of developing a partnership that is the perfect fit for his experience, education, and vision. He does not view this as a time to settle, but rather, the perfect opportunity to continue what he started at Lebanon Valley College.
“I stepped outside the norm to create my own educational experience at LVC and I plan to continue that trend so my skills and education can be applied in the most beneficial ways to both businesses and the world,” Watkins says.