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Ouachita Stories


The right place, the right time

Ouachita’s investment in me despite transferring and changing majors

Madison JacksonDecember 14, 2020 - Madison Jackson

Finding my passion was a bit of a journey. It has taken a couple twists and turns, but my unique Ouachita experience has helped me discover my true passion and led me to my current pursuit of a finance degree.

Madison at WOW

Madison (left) at Welcome to Ouachita's World new student orientation her freshman year.

When I came to Ouachita as a freshman in the fall of 2017, I chose to be a political science major. After my first semester, I knew that it was not for me. So, while I was home for Christmas break, I decided to change my major to nutrition & dietetics. I had always been interested in fitness and health, so this major seemed to align with my passions well.

However, throughout the semester, I felt like something was missing. I was enjoying Ouachita. I liked my friends. I liked my classes. The community of Ouachita was very close, but I did not feel plugged into the close-knit community that Ouachita cultivates. My experience was not unenjoyable, but it just didn’t feel like me.

During the summer, I started to do some research. There was another school only an hour away from my hometown that also had a reputable nutrition program. I had thoughts about transferring, but I didn’t want to tell anyone yet. Instead, I prayed daily that God would lead me to where I was supposed to be. Right before my sophomore year, with my car already packed to head to Ouachita, I decided to transfer to the university closer to home. I found a roommate, I rushed and pledged a sorority and continued my nutrition degree. Everything seemed to fall into place.

I quickly learned that making friends was much harder at my new school. It was so much larger, and the people were not as friendly. There was no common trait that the students shared, unlike the Christian community that I had at Ouachita. I stuck it out and finished the year, but my experience began to get much worse when I returned in the fall of 2019.

I started to have serious anxiety at my new school, and I still had not found a group of like-minded people. In order to finish my courses, I needed to move home and finish my classes online. My walk with God was so much stronger after this experience because I needed His strength to help me with my anxiousness and finish the semester strong.

After several hard months, I decided to visit some friends at Ouachita during the Battle of the Ravine weekend. While here, I really felt like I was back at home. I had missed being around my friends and the long-standing culture that was built here. I came home and told my parents that I needed to transfer back to Ouachita.

I felt very confident that I was following God’s plan instead of my own, and I came back to Ouachita during the spring of my junior year. My roommate was awesome; I reconnected with my friends; and I was in a much more familiar place. Sadly, something was still wrong. I knew my location was right, but I still didn’t feel fulfilled.

While visiting family in Dallas this summer, I took the AIMS test, which measures your potential interests and offers careers that would suit you. My results included real estate and pharmaceutical sales. Oddly enough, my family was introducing me to some family friends that worked in sales and encouraged me that it was fitting to my personality. I believe that they were right.

Before beginning my fourth year at Ouachita, I decided to change my major – again. I had a series of Zoom calls with my new advisor, Dr. Chris Brune, who helped me decide what I wanted to do. He encouraged me in whatever I chose to do, and he saw me doing well in Ouachita’s Hickingbotham School of Business.

I will need to take classes for an extra year to graduate, but I feel affirmed that I am both in the right place and pursuing the right course of study. I no longer have anxiety about finding my passion or calling. The entire experience has taught me a lot about the importance of prayer and patience while God is revealing His calling on your life. Everything goes by God’s timing, not your own, and I am so glad that Ouachita assisted me on this journey.


Madison JacksonBy Madison Jackson, a senior finance major from El Dorado, Ark.