September 9, 2019 at 1:00pm
Kalli Farmer '20 / Video by Lillian Hester '21

Peer mentor finds his calling in nursing

If you ever see someone around campus dancing at the most random times, throwing the "OK" sign around too many times to count, or making some great beats and pretending to play the drums - you most likely have met Millikin University junior nursing major Marcus Hayes.

The Joliet, Ill., native is well-known for his high energy, contagious smile and dedication to his passions and studies.

Hayes serves in many different roles on Millikin's campus including being a residential academic peer mentor, a supplementary instructor and a leader for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Being a peer mentor, specifically, is one of Hayes' favorite things that he gets to be a part of.

"The main focus of being a peer mentor is academic, but it really is so much more than that," Hayes said. "I love being there for the freshmen. Freshmen year can be a struggle at some points. Seeing how they manage that struggle and being there for them through it all is pretty cool."

Having deep connections with other students not only has helped Hayes become a better peer mentor, but has helped him grow in other areas of his life as well.

"Being a peer mentor has shown me how I should best approach people, have conversations with people about their current situations, and really just learn how to be real and raw with others," said Hayes.

As a peer mentor, the genuineness and care Hayes has for others are among the many traits that make him stand out in his role. Hayes utilized these same traits during his summer job as a camp counselor at Camp Timberline in Estes Park, Colo.

His passion for helping others has led to aspirations to work as a nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU) or with anesthesia.
One reason that Hayes originally ended up at Millikin was because of the University's excellent School of Nursing. In high school, Hayes was unsure whether or not nursing was his calling, or if Millikin was the right choice for him. However, his time at Millikin thus far has reassured him that he is in the right place.
"Performance learning is one of the greatest things that Millikin has to offer," Hayes explained. "As nursing students, we are essentially thrown to the wolves, which is great since we gain experience right from the start with having to perform in the actual environment where we will be working in one day."
Along with his love for Millikin's academics, Hayes could go on and on about what stands out the most about Millikin, which in his opinion, is none other than the people that make up the Big Blue community.

"Millikin attracts people that are always fully accepting and cool with being themselves. No one is trying to conform to anything, but rather we encourage each other to do our own thing," Hayes said.

Being able to experience life and pursue individual goals in any way possible is what Hayes loves about the Millikin community. Everyone finds a different way to make Millikin their own with great support along the way.

"The people are the reason why I am still here in Decatur (Ill.). I feel as I am a part of something much bigger than myself," Hayes said.