She wanted to get into graphic design, she recalled, but wasn't sure where she'd go from there.
Then the Dallastown graduate got involved in internships with art therapy.
And, after the senior goes through Saturday's graduation and another summer working with students with disabilities, she'll be headed to Marywood University in Scranton to pursue a master's in art therapy.
Consider the broad strokes down to a fine point.
"It was awesome. It put in stone that I do want to work with children," McFerran said of her off-campus work.
Most recently, she helped with the Busy Bee Mosaic Project at ForSight Vision Center
McFerran worked alongside other students as well as adjunct art professor Rebecca Quattrone. The art therapy can help a child with a disability or impairment use a different form of expression, McFerran, 22, said.
"It's allowing people to communicate by means other than languages," she said.
The therapy seems to go both ways.
"Working with these children, they have the brightest outlook on life, even though they are visually impaired or physically impaired. They don't take anything for granted," McFerran said.
Senior living: Crystal Bastress had a similar hands-on learning experience, but in a much different environment.
The senior York College student, who is wrapping up two credits before graduating, is a nursing major with a focus on gerontology.
She also was, for 72 hours, a nursing home resident.
As part of a pilot project, the Seven Valleys resident got to live in The Village at Sprenkle Drive in York for three days last summer.
"I was admitted as a resident. They treated me as a resident," Bastress said.
To add to the experience, staff members put her arm and leg in casts so she'd have to use a wheelchair and would have limited mobility, similar to the residents there.
Even though it was just a few days, Bastress said it had a long-term effect.
"It had a big emotional and physical impact on my life," she said. "My perspective completely changed with a ot of things."
She discovered what life is like on the other side of the nurse/patient relationship, such as how important it is for residents to have human interaction. And she found getting a full night's sleep could be difficult because of staff needing to check on residents.
Those findings were relayed to the staff after she was done.
"I was doing it to gain an empathy (for residents). But it ended up being beneficial on both sides," Bastress said.
Her experiences were incorporated into a study conducted by assistant professor of gerontology Kelly Niles-Yokum. That study was presented at the Southern Gerontological Society Conference in Nashville last month.
- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or email@example.com, or on Twitter @ydblogwork
York College graduation:
* Saturday at 10:15 a.m.
* Campus mall (Tickets required)
* Speaker: U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey