I am an Organizational Leadership major at Millikin University. I reached out to Mike Wilkin, another Organizational Leadership major at Millikin. Mike and I have had several classes together so we are both aware that we are non-traditional adult students. Mike and I have similar hobbies and interests. It turns out, we have more in common than we originally thought.
I will always remember the first day we had class together. I did not make it three feet into the classroom when he was asking me what my name was and that I look familiar. Turns out, my grandpa used to coach him in baseball. On top of that, he knew both my mom and my dad from sports and roller skating together. He also is really good friends with my uncle. This just shows how small the world can be sometimes.
Mike’s story on how he became an Organizational Leadership major is an interesting one. Every person has their own unique story. Mike started going to Richland Community College back in 1993. He chose to not finish and ended up just working full-time in 1994. He has been at Caterpillar since 2017 and wants to further his career their if he can. His goal is to be in more of a training role rather than an investigators role.
We fast forward to 2016. He ended up going back to Richland 27 years later to receive his Associates. He went back to school because of his family. They wanted him to pursue his dream of teaching. Mike stated, “I talked to advisors at Millikin about their flex program. They assured me that I could teach once I got my degree and OL was closest program they had. Turns out, I need more education from a different college after Millikin to qualify for my teaching certificate.”
For some time, Mike has been bitter about being misled about his pursuit of his teaching certificate. With that being said, he has not let that affect his attitude and motivation to complete his bachelor’s degree. Instead of having a bad attitude about it, he has approached every class with the same positive attitude. If you have ever had a class with Mike, you know that his attitude and humor is contagious. He makes every class more interesting because of his stories and perspective on topics. He also is not afraid to share his opinion.
To start his day, Mike is up around 5:00 a.m. He has to be into work by 6:30 a.m. He works until 3:00p.m Monday through Friday. His favorite part of the day is the, “Cat500 at 3:00p.m. This is the race out of the parking lot and down 22nd street. In his spare time, he plays tennis, bowling, and slow pitch softball. But more importantly, he loves spending time with his family.
In addition, I reached out to Janet Kirby. She is a professor and academic advisor at Millikin University. Professor Kirby and I talk frequently because I have had her for several classes and she is my advisor. Her advice to students for the OL program or any program at Millikin University is to, “take all learning in classes at opportunities to apply them to your work or other life experiences as they are introduced.”
Mike is one semester away from completing the OL program and plans on graduating December 21st. All the while, he is working full-time, going to school full-time and raising two daughters. He also recently got married. Mike is balancing a lot throughout the year but is making it look easy. I am grateful that I have got to know Mike as a person.
Author: Austin Hardin