By Caroline Grigg
Starting college is tough. But being the new kid on campus twice is even more difficult. Peyton Florence knows those struggles first-hand. Yet you would never know it. As the interview began, Florence’s eyes light up and she smiles, slightly waving, at a girl walking outside the class.
But Florence hasn’t always been a familiar face at University of South Carolina. She started at University of Kentucky as a freshman.
“I was more than ready to head to somewhere different, far away from Columbia,” Florence said. “It was exciting, but extremely eye opening.”
At one point her goal was to be a nurse, and there was no better place than University of Kentucky’s nursing program. St. Jude Children’s Hospital has been Florence’s inspiration since she was young.
“I met a young boy on a cruise back in elementary school who had cancer and was on his Make-A-Wish trip. He was treated at St. Jude and really touched me. Ever since then I’ve been amazed with St. Jude”
As her freshman year progressed, she realized that University of Kentucky was not where she needed to be, especially in the nursing program. She has never been a fan of needles and blood but thought she could push through it.
“I’ve always loved the idea of helping someone else in need. I’m a very passionate person, but I can only take so much goriness that fills the nursing world.”
She also was struggling in school. After seeing her grades drop by the end of her freshman year she knew it was time for a change. That change meant coming right back to the place she wanted to leave. She enrolled at USC for the next semester.
“Coming back to Columbia was like I was given a do-over but in the same old familiar place I called home,” Florence said as she fumbled through the papers sprawled on her desk.
Peyton started the track in public relations and has a GPA of 4.0, the highest a student can attain. To say she has found her niche is an understatement. She will graduate in December, and continues to search for what life after college may look like. The relationship building skills she gained from transferring and turning around a poor start to her academic college career likely will serve her well.
“I still think about St. Jude and the boy I met on the cruise a lot,” she said with a wide smile. “My dream will always be to work with the children and doctors there, I can’t get away from it. This time it just may be in the office instead of on the floor.”
Grigg is a public relations senior