Coming to a diverse university such as UCA was intimidating for most students at one time.
Whether students come here straight from high school or transfer from a community college, coming to UCA is a time of great change.
For homeschooled students like junior Danielle Casey it represents drastic changes but it is a huge open door to new opportunities and experiences. Casey was very active in her homeschooling years, from having a job at Sonic to being involved at church, 4H, and was active in speech and debate.
After joining a debate team in Little Rock, Casey discovered that she had a bit of a “knack” for it and went on to earn a scholarship with it.
After graduating from high school, Casey applied for college at “basically every college in the state” but followed scholarship money and decided on University of Central Arkansas.
Casey spoke about the changes involved in being homeschooled and transitioning to college.
“It wasn’t difficult at all, transitioning to college, I think if anything, that I was used to having to do stuff on my own. Your education is very much in your own hands and I have always been self-motivated.”
When she decided to go to UCA, she made the decision to be work toward a double major in political science and international studies. She will graduate in the spring of 2016 and her dream job would to be to become a senator and eventually a secretary of state.
As part of her major in international studies, she gets to go to St. Louis every year for Model United Nations, a mock international court of justice. Last year she was chosen to defend Pakistan in an attack on their right to possess nuclear weapons and she won.
This year she plans on going on a trip through the Scheduler Honors College to Europe. She will travel on a three-week-long trip that will take her, by train, from Paris to Madrid.
Casey has been a member of the UCA debate team since her freshman year. Just last week the team won the state title at the Southern Forensics Championship in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Having earned the title every year that she’s been a part of the team, she has especially strong feelings for her teammates. The success they have enjoyed together and her views on that reflect the way she approaches everything she seems to shoot for.
“We are overall a good team, you have to be consistently good,” she said. “We were definitely super excited and I feel like getting the trophy to begin with motivates you to keep it.”
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 17 print edition of The Echo.