EU Alumni Perspective: Jessica Griffith
Name: Jessica Griffith
Graduation Year: May 2013
Major: Bachelors of Health Sciences & Bachelors in Science of Nursing (Cox College)
Current Position: Professional CrossFit athlete and Online Nutrition Coach
City and State: Springfield, MO
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
So I graduated from Evangel and obtained my nursing license. I worked at Cox Health for 3 years (Med-surg for two years and ER for 1 year) and then I worked up in St. Louis for 2 years in one of their downtown ERs (yikes!). Meanwhile, I had started CrossFit in August of 2013 and had found much success with it. I was part of a team that went to the CrossFit Games in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, I qualified as an individual (only 40 women in the world qualify). In 2018, I missed qualifying by 4 points BUT I found myself as a contestant on NBC’s The Titan Games hosted by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Soooo I couldn’t be too mad about not qualifying for the CrossFit Games. With all of these amazing fitness endeavors, I found myself having an internal conflict. In the gym, I was preaching healthy lifestyle choices, fixing your diet, making time to work out, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep. Whereas, in the hospital working as a nurse, I was essentially pushing pills to “help” people’s chronic issues. Although there is a time and place for prescription medications, I felt like I was more effective in helping people in my life outside of the hospital than I was inside the hospital. So, I quit my nursing career within the four walls of the hospital and started pursuing nursing in the sense of a more holistic approach. I now travel the world as an advocate for health and fitness and coach people online with their nutrition. I got my nursing degree because I wanted to help people. Now, God has given me a tremendous platform to not only reach people about their health and fitness goals but to also shed light into their lives and show them the love of Christ.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
My favorite memory?! Haha, Goshhhh too many to name!! I don’t know if shes still there, but I’ll never get over the sweet hello from Miss Joan in the cafeteria every time I came in to eat. If she’s not there anymore, man, those students are missing out!
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
Evangel helped me develop my calling because it helped me realize who I wanted to be. It was the first time I lived on my own and was able to make my own choices. When you have time alone, you realize what you make time for and what your true passions are. I found that I always made time to pursue God, help people, and work out. Reflecting on the last 6 years, I’ve used the exact gifts God has given me to make my wildest dreams come true. Although I’ve “turned away” from my nursing career, it has given me an edge on helping people because I’ve seen the life’s end result of poor lifestyle choices. The person who doesn’t stop smoking, eats a sugary diet, doesn’t work out—I’ve seen how that affects a person’s life 20 years down the road. Not many people in the health/wellness/fitness industry have that experience or knowledge. So by no means do I feel like my nursing degree has gone to waste. It put me exactly on the path that I wanted to be on. I am a well-educated health and fitness influencer—and that’s pretty awesome. Not to mention, I get to do it with Jesus in my heart—so sharing the love of Christ on top of healthy lifestyle choices is SO rewarding.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
My experience at Evangel prepared me for life after graduation because it really solidified my relationship with Christ. Again, when you get time alone, you realize who you are and who you want to become. Having the influence of amazing God-fearing people to encourage me on my journey through such a crucial growth experience has definitely made me the person I am today.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
The advice I would give is you don’t always understand the road you’re being led down. If you know in your heart that God has an amazing plan for you, let Him be in 100% control of your life, and honor him with all your heart and soul, you won’t believe the plan that will unfold! I didn’t plan to leave my nursing career until January of 2019. Well, the door closed in March of 2018. I prayed about leaving my career earlier than planned and I heard God say, “trust me.” I decided to obey, and my life has literally spiraled out of control in the most wonderful way!
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
My dad always told me, “if you want a promotion, help promote the guy ahead of you.” This not only makes you a supportive team player but makes you an employee that people want to have around.