Biggs Finds Big Support at WBU

 

When Rylee Biggs enrolled at Wayland she knew what she was looking for – a small school where she felt comfortable and where people cared for each other. What she found was something special.

“It exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I’ve met so many positive people. I knew it was going to be a positive environment, but I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed with so many good people.”

Rylee’s journey through high school and into college was a bit unconventional. Like so many students, her life was drastically affected by the COVID pandemic. Many high school students missed out on seminal moments like prom, homecoming and even graduation. But for Rylee, she missed out on her entire senior year.

As a junior in high school, Rylee struggled with the environment and some of the decisions her school was making. The environment weighed heavily on her and the daily grind of high school became a struggle.

“High school isn’t for a lot of people,” she said. “I’m one of those people. It wasn’t for me.”

But while the social and environmental aspects of high school dampened her spirit, Rylee never struggled in the classroom. When COVID changed things, she saw an opportunity.

“At the beginning of the second semester of my junior year is when COVID hit,” she said. “I decided during that COVID break that I was going to get ahead.”

Rylee added to her class schedule, and took several courses as dual-credit.  By the end of her junior year, she had enough credits to graduate high school and to enroll in college as a sophomore.

“I graduated in the class above me my junior year and instead of starting my senior year of high school in August, I started my sophomore year at Wayland,” she said.

Rylee, whose parents, Monty and Brittain Biggs, both graduated from Wayland, grew up hearing stories about the university and how much her parents loved the time they spent at the school. As Rylee weighed her college options, she knew she wanted a small school with a positive, family environment.

“When I talked to my parents about it, they said, ‘Wayland is where you need to be,’ and they were completely right,” she said. “I’m so glad that I chose Wayland.”

Majoring in biology, Rylee hopes to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. She plans to apply to a number of PA schools and work in the field of dermatology. She said the professors in the School of Mathematics and Sciences have been very helpful and supportive and really want her to succeed.

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“I don’t feel intimidated to go up to the professors and ask them for help – even for basic concepts that I should know,” she said. “I feel totally comfortable in saying, ‘I don’t understand this, can we go over it again?’ They are willing to go out of their way to help me.”

The student body and campus life have also been a source of support for Rylee, especially her cheerleading teammates. Cheer keeps her plenty busy as the group practices every morning from 6-8 a.m. then participates in volleyball, basketball and football games throughout the year. They also make special appearances at local elementary schools and other events in the community. The group not only cheers together, but they also study the Bible and pray together. Although it is a huge time commitment, Rylee said it is also a way to re-focus on positive things.

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“It’s just a relief for me,” she said. “When I’m cheering, I can’t throw myself a pity party. I’m out there and I’m having a great time and it really makes me forget the problems of my day. I get to do what I love and I get to see people get excited for the game.”

Those experiences and relationships have solidified Rylee’s choice to come to Wayland. She said she originally thought about attending Wayland for a year, then transferring a larger university to cheer. She realized, however, that the relationships she built at Wayland are more important than what she would get from at a large school.

“I’ve had so many opportunities since I’ve been here to get involved in so many different types of organizations. And they are all so exciting,” she said. “My roots are deep here. I’m so happy I chose Wayland.”

 

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