The UA Fort Smith Alumni Association will feature young alumni and what their life after graduation has been like. If you would like to be featured, please e-mail

Friday, November 19, 2010

Katy Schrodt Prater '08

Comfort Zone

“Where do you feel most comfortable?” This was the seemingly simple question that one of my college professors, Michelle Clifton, asked me in the midst of my near meltdown involving my indecision about what my degree should be. As a sophomore at UA Fort Smith, I found myself lost in respect to what I wanted to be when I grow up. I was confused. I was frustrated. I was exhausted. And honestly, a little scared. When Michelle asked me this question, the undeniable answer involved a gym. Michelle opened my eyes to the answer to a question that impacts every day of my life as a college graduate. It was people like Michelle Clifton that make me so grateful that I had the chance to attend UA Fort Smith.

I graduated from college with a degree in English with a Teacher’s Licensure. Currently, I teach ninth grade English and coach high school volleyball at Lavaca High School. Michelle’s guidance encouraged me to pursue my love of sports and become a coach, a decision that enriches my life on a daily basis. I feel that my education and leadership roles in college provided me with all of the knowledge and characteristics necessary to impact young people in a positive way.

Beyond all of this professional stuff, I will always look back on my time at UA Fort Smith as some of the happiest years of my life. UA Fort Smith not only provided me with professional skills, it also provided me with my husband! In June of 2010 I married one of the coolest guys I’ve ever known. 
Our Wedding
 Cody and I met as freshmen at UA Fort Smith through our involvement with the Chancellor’s Leadership Council. He is nothing like the man I ever imagined marrying and yet everything I could ever need or want in a husband. Currently, Cody and I live in Fort Smith with our two children.
 Finny and Staley
We enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching sports, and traveling whenever we get the chance. Cody and I often times reflect on how much we enjoyed college and hope to remain connected with UA Fort Smith for years to come.

So, today when I think back on the answer to that question that shaped my life years ago, I realize that the answer is still very much the same and yet very different. I still feel comfortable in a gym coaching kids. However, I also feel comfortable in a classroom teaching English, in leadership positions outside of my job, in social situations meeting new people, and at home with my husband and my dogs. My comfort zone expanded because I was allowed to practice all of the skills necessary to be successful in any facet of my life in my time at UA Fort Smith. Oddly enough, when I consider answering where I feel most comfortable today, I can’t deny that one of the first places that pops into my head happens to be apartment 821 at Sebastian Commons or jogging on the campus green late at night or attending class in the Holt Building or dancing with all of my friends at Cub Camp. My time at UA Fort Smith might have ended in May 2008, but my experiences and lessons learned from those years will travel with me far beyond high school gymnasiums.

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