Elizabeth Coggin would love to credit her success at Baylor to her own intelligence and determination, but admits her accomplishments were largely due to a brainy pack of friends and "an almost pathological inability to say no."
Coggin found herself unable to say no to many academic programs including the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, the Honors and the University Scholars programs.
"I wouldn't recommend that every student try to combine these programs because it can result in some very tangled-up paperwork," Coggin said. "But I could never decide which one to choose over another."
Coggin describes her BIC classes as lively, stimulating and challenging. They were also where she met her best friends.
"They inspired me, dragging me out of my quiet study and reminding me that grades are not an end unto themselves and that living and learning together could be fun."
Coggin began at Baylor as a music major. At the time, she loved playing the violin more than anything and wanted to make music her career. But during her first semester, Coggin realized she was having more fun composing essays for Dr. Paula Woods' writing and speaking class than she was preparing for String Hour performances.
She then transferred to the College of Arts and Sciences and joined the University Scholars program, where she had the freedom to study a wide range of subjects. She pursued her interest in English literature and history while remaining in the Baylor Symphony. She planned her schedule around the courses offered by the best professors and managed to work in a semester abroad in England her senior year.
"My education would not have been as valuable or as much fun with any other major," Coggin said. "I feel ready for anything."
Although it left her a semester behind, the time Coggin spent in England was the best experience of her life.
"I tell every student I meet to head straight over to the International Studies office," Coggin said. "I really enjoyed my classes, but the most valuable outcome of my studies there was my new-found independence. Of course, it didn't hurt that my boyfriend pro-posed to me on the turret of a Welsh castle."
After returning from England, Coggin had second thoughts about staying in the Honors Program.
"My decision to stick with the Honors Program was the toughest I've ever made," she said. "I knew that such in-depth research would be a valuable experience, particularly since I wanted to obtain a PhD degree and become a professor, but the work was almost overwhelming by my senior year."
Coggin graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa this past summer. She also was chosen as Baylor University's Outstanding Graduating Senior.
"That was quite an honor, but I'm not letting it inspire any delusions of greatness," Coggin said. "I'm pleased with my success, but I've met many remarkably impressive students, and not all of them have had stellar GPAs. I've had friends who spent more hours doing volunteer work than studying and still made fantastic grades. I've met musicians who devote hours each day to solitary practice in pursuit of perfection. I've met students who can't wait to get out of school so that they can begin their careers as missionaries. Baylor is just an out-standing school, and I'm lucky to have had such outstanding opportunities."
Coggin teaches a writing course at a Houston community college while she applies to various graduate programs and enjoys being a newlywed.
She said she misses being where there is so much emphasis on Christianity.
"Christianity and academics blend beautifully, for both teach us discipline and inspire us to create an extraordinary life for ourselves," Coggin said. "Had I attended a secular school, I think I might have forgot-ten that and focused instead on studies alone. I would have neglected my spiritual side, limiting myself as a scholar and as a human being."