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Ouachita Stories


From the "Ouachitonian": Tyrese Allen

Tyrese AllenDecember 22, 2021 - Emily Barton

Previously published in the 2021 Ouachitonian yearbook

Freshman year of high school included moving from Kansas to Savannah, Georgia, for Tyrese Allen, a senior biology major and student body president. His family packed up their rental car, and all Allen cared about were his clothes and fishing poles. While living in Savannah, in the 10th grade, Allen created a mass college application to hundreds of schools.

“I have totes full of letters from different colleges. I would get them and just throw them into the tote,” said Allen.

One in particular stood out to his mother. A phone call from Ouachita would lead Allen to make a life-changing decision to go to college several states away from his home.

“I felt like an actual person, and felt they wanted me to come here,” said Allen. “I immediately started praying God would make a way for me to get there.”

After not knowing how he would pay for college, Allen saw God working in his life by earning scholarships and receiving a raise at his workplace, which resulted in enough savings for college. God continued to open the most surprising doors in Allen’s life.

“My best friend Corey Cadell pushed me to join Student Senate by wrapping his entire car with pictures of me,” said Allen. “I went from being extremely introverted to eventually being the student body president.”

At the beginning of his time at Ouachita, Allen felt alone and disconnected, but he felt the Lord wanted him in Arkadelphia, so he continued to pray. During Allen’s senior year, he reflected on how God changed him through his involvement at Ouachita. Allen was grateful for being a part of such an intentional body of Christ.

“Since getting into Senate, I have been eager to serve and be a part of the bigger solutions here on campus,” said Allen. “I do a student panel every year, and this year during WOW looking out into the vastly diverse crowd has never been so encouraging.”

Allen was proud to see stereotypes abandoned on Ouachita’s campus. Once he found his place on campus, the whole Ouachita world opened up to him in brand new ways. “You can make it here and be poor, you can make it here and be Black, or Asian. There is not a stereotypical Ouachita student, and I am proud of that,” said Allen.

Allen knew even in the hardest times God would not put anything in front of him that he was unable to handle. Allen says he relied on God to lead him to Ouachita and the opportunity to make real, long-lasting changes.

“Everyone is in a learning mindset here, and it creates a monumental wave of positive change,” said Allen. “I will take what I’ve learned here and lead an impactful life.”

Photo by Hannah Smith

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