Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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A Western Tale
Darren Heard's story of how he chose Western is pretty interesting. During his senior year of high school, he didn't even think he needed to go to college.
"My lifelong friend Demetrius Davidson got accepted into Western and he kept telling me about how great of a school it was. He told me that it would be a lot of fun if I went too and since I had good grades I would definitely get accepted; all I had to do was apply. I finally took the initiative and filled out the application. I was accepted, but I still wasn't eager about going. One day I was laying around the house and my father comes in the room and says 'So did you get accepted into Western?' and when I told him I had, he simply replied 'Alright, good. Get ready to go to Western!' and walked out without any further discussion. And that was that."
Flash-forward to the present and Darren said he cannot imagine attending any other university.
"I'm making the most out of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Being surrounded by young, motivated and educated individuals helps me stay focused on accomplishing my goals, and the administration does a great job in opening its arms to the student body, making us feel welcome in a new environment. Having positive relationships with people around campus and making connections with them allows me to enjoy college every day."
Advantages and Then Some
Once Darren was on campus, there were opportunities that he reached out and grabbed, including serving as a resident assistant and a member of Learning to Lead. He is currently president of the Student Government Association. He is also a member of Beta Phi Pi Fraternity, Inc., serving as the organization's academic chair.
"These positions have given me leadership skills, maturity, and most importantly spiritual growth. I love WIU because it allows me to expand my horizons in every way imaginable. Just think of how dull the college experience would be if everyone just went to class and back to their rooms every single day. I believe that getting involved allows people to hone their skills and expand their horizons."
Public speaking and community outreach have always come naturally to Darren, so it was an obvious choice for him to choose communication as his major.
"Pursuing a degree in communication is laying the foundation for a bright future in public service. I enjoy my classes a lot because the professors do their best to engage the students in classroom discussions and lessons, and they make a real effort in helping students succeed. During my internship in Summer 2009, I put a lot of communication theories into practice and saw only positive results."
Words of Wisdom
Darren urges all new students to do their best to expand their horizons and step outside of the box.
"Find something new to enjoy. While in the classroom, pay attention, ask questions and take away everything you can from each class. The college experience is what you make it so hang around with and get to know individuals who are trying to succeed. Have fun, grow spiritually and definitely GET THAT DEGREE!"