Jacob Sturgill '19

Name: Jacob Sturgill '19
Residence: Spartanburg, South Carolina
Degree: Social work
Occupation: Clinical social worker, specialization in substance abuse counseling

By Sam Hyatt, English major

Although Jacob Sturgill ‘19 graduated from Winthrop University in less time than the typical four years, he's confident he didn't miss out on the “full college experience.”

How does Sturgill define that full college experience? Making friends, building a sense of community, enjoying campus offerings, exploring Charlotte and much more.

“Some of my favorite events were yoga on the Campus Green, Halloween tours in Tillman, and open mic nights in the campus center,” he said. “Some of my other favorite memories from Winthrop include hanging out on Scholars Walk with other classmates and exploring campus.”

“I enjoyed hanging out on the lawn in front of Richardson,” he added. “Many of the friends I made at Winthrop were met when they were studying in the grass by the dorms. We would all meet up on blankets outside to work on projects and spend time with each other.”

Sturgill particularly appreciated the inclusivity of the campus community, “a safe space.”

“My time at Winthrop impacted me by helping me discover who I am as a person,” he said. “Winthrop helped shaped my identity by providing me a safe place to explore who I am as a human and question the reality we live in. …My fellow students were eager to learn, and many of the students I encountered were supportive and understanding of others' challenges.”

After graduation, Sturgill immediately put his social work degree to use, serving as a clinical social worker specializing in substance abuse counseling. On average, he works with approximately 60 clients - leading group therapy sessions, seeing clients individually each week, and overall helping them meet their goals and remain abstinent.

“My favorite part of my job is getting to plant a seed of empowerment to all individuals I work with,” he said. “I have the opportunity to watch my client create change in real time, and it's amazing.”

While Sturgill said his time at Winthrop prepared him for his career, he was not prepared for the lifestyle change, such as not seeing friends as frequently.

“Education becomes your world while you are in college, and then suddenly it is all over,” he explained. “I found it hard to adjust to not having constant work to do or having a test to study for. You have so much free time that no one tells you about once you're in the real world.”

The theme of “time” continues for Sturgill in his advice to future and current students.

“Time management helped me balance a steady social and educational life while living on campus. I was able to make new friends and stay on top of my work by working ahead and submitting assignments early.”

His last piece of advice?

“Do not wish your time at Winthrop away! One day after you graduate, you may look back and wish you could do it all over again…because I sure do.”