An Old Soul In a New Age
“I like to think about the heart as hands. They get calloused,” said UCO senior William Stafford. “The more calloused your hands, the more they lose feeling.”
Stafford is a talker and philosopher who is anxious to find his future wife and settle down. On the dating site, Plenty of Fish, Stafford describes himself as, “an old soul in a new age.”
And Stafford believes he is a catch.
Standing at 6-foot-3, he has long brown hair that’s turned blonde near the end and reaches past his shoulders.
In the dark, the 27-year old might appear intimidating with his long arms and an easy gait that bounces his hair up and down with each stride. However, those who really know him believe he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Stafford will graduate in May with a degree in Public Administration. Stafford is, what some people would call, a “non-trad” or non-traditional student.
Stafford went a different route.
After graduating in 2005 from Bishop McGuinness, Stafford decided to skip college in order to get his aircraft maintenance license. Enrolling with Francis Tuttle to begin the certification process, Stafford dove into the grueling 18-month process.
In order to receive certification in airplane maintenance, each applicant must put in 1,980 hours. Stafford completed his hours and did not miss a single day within the 18-month period.
Thinking he found his niche, Stafford completed the program and received certification in Airplane Maintenance. Soon after, he was hired by a contracting facility, AAR Corp. Not only was Stafford successful at it, but he enjoyed doing it.
AAR Corp. was not immune to the economic downturn and in 2009 Stafford was laid off. He was right back to where he started.
“It’s been a long road for me,” he said as the memory of that troubled time flickered in his eyes.
But Stafford bounced back.
He earned an Associate’s degree from OSU-OKC, and also claimed an award. Stafford was nominated and named the “Honorable graduate of the Arts and Sciences Division.”
“Don’t waste your time at a four-year university,” he said. “The more distractions, the more is taken away from your education.”
Stafford firmly believes that students should utilize community colleges for a couple years until they can transfer to four-year schools.
When Stafford graduates, he hopes to continue to give back by working for Oklahoma City in some capacity. Whether with the Chamber of Commerce or Parks & Recreation, Stafford believes that he can use his degree in Public Administration and his unique experiences to help the city thrive.
Stafford is an old soul in a new age. His hair may be long and his hands calloused and he may be a little old for a senior. But like many around him, he hopes to someday be married and find a job he loves.
Although these two things have not happened yet, Stafford will be the first to say, “There are plenty of fish.”