Ceremony means even more a year later to MSU Texas Spring 2020 graduate

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Graduation is a milestone. And it’s always a reason to celebrate.

For Kayla Khan, it was even more meaningful after her graduation ceremony was delayed one year. Khan will be honored as one of the Midwestern State University Spring 2020 graduating class that will walk the stage on June 5, at Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Khan earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology (minor in medical sociology). “I see this graduation as a celebration; it means just as much to me now as it would have last year,” Khan said.

Khan’s challenges for her senior year were large-scale, even just taking into account her academic goals. She registered for six classes in Spring 2020 so she could graduate in May.

Then life changed again. Just before the semester began, she had surgery and was diagnosed with cancer. She was to start chemotherapy immediately.

“I had to decide between dropping my classes and focusing on treatment or doing both at the same time,” she said. “My goal was to graduate on time (May), so I decided to stay in the six classes and do my six rounds of chemotherapy.”

She said it meant a lot to be able to complete both her treatments and classes in time, even if the graduation ceremony was delayed. “Now, a year later, with graduation coming up and me being in remission, I think back to last year and everything that I have gone through,” Khan said.

Khan said she was excited to return for an in-person graduation ceremony and has friends and family coming to Wichita Falls to celebrate with her.

In 2018, Khan was living in San Antonio and finishing her associate’s degree when she visited her older sister, a student at MSU Texas. “She would show me around campus and Wichita Falls, and I ended up loving it here,” Khan said. “Some of my best memories at MSU Texas include going to Finals Frenzy with my sister and late-night study sessions at the library with my friends.”

The challenges she faced were immense, including beating away doubts throughout the journey.

“One of the main challenges I faced while working towards my degree was getting diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment,” Khan said. “The majority of the time, I would tell myself there was no way I could pass all my classes and truly understand the information while going through surgeries and treatment. The whole cancer diagnosis had put things into perspective, and I remember a lot of times last year questioning if I really wanted to continue with my degree and if it would even matter in the long run.”

But she was motivated to do more and give back to others facing similar circumstances. Khan is working to complete a master’s degree in clinical mental health. “I would like to get my Doctor of Psychology degree,” she said. “As of right now, I would love to work with cancer patients and study psycho-oncology further.”

Khan wanted to give credit to the many who had helped her achieve her degree. “I would like to thank my family, Daisy Khan (mom), Sharaz Khan (dad), Felicia Bacon (sister), and Camille Solak (sister) especially, for supporting me through everything,” she said. “And the following professors helped and inspired me throughout my time at MSU, especially last spring when I was going through treatment, and there was a pandemic going on — Dr. David Carlston, Dr. George Diekhoff, Dr. Scott Frankowski, Dr. Don Knox, and Dr. Beverly Stiles.”

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July 23 2021 05:30 am

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