The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

Carin Houser is Making the Small Impacts Count

Sometimes, Expectations Must be Broken to Make Room for Growth

Carin Houser wears many hats. Perhaps not physical ones, however, Houser’s numerous skills and passions cannot be defined as something as simple as a talent—she does it all, and never fails to do it with a little flair and a lot of boldness.

During her time at Millikin, she served as editor in chief of the Decaturian, winning many awards from the Illinois College Press Association (ICPA); was a member of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) on campus, and in addition to working full-time she maintained a 12-plus credit-hour workload.

And that list does not even begin to do Houser’s knack for her many juggling acts justice.

Although she was admitted to Millikin as an elementary education major, Houser switched to English education and then finally found her place in the English department as writing major, focusing on journalism.

Story continues below advertisement

“I ended up realizing that I much preferred that content over education,” said Houser. “And then I had concerns about my service dog with young children.”

Yes, Carin Houser is the student on campus with the beautiful Saluki dog, adorned in a red vest. The one you stand next to in the elevator—albeit awkwardly—wondering if you can pet her all-too-cute Ata, or if that would prove to be a major distraction.

“I wanted to make an impact on the future,” said Houser. “I figured that the best way for me to better the future of the world, and humanity, was by providing the children of today—who are the future of tomorrow—the best education possible.”

Her desire to improve the world encouraged her to go into education, however, Houser soon realized that the field was not for her.

“I ended up finding out that I can apply all of that passion and knowledge and skill in the nonprofit sector,” said Houser.

Houser began working at the YMCA her senior year of high school and fell in love with how much the organization helped and served the surrounding community. From their “Pedaling with Parkinson’s” program and teaching children how to properly swim, to the cancer survivor group and watching members change their lives through exercise, Houser discovered that she could help improve the world starting in her own community.

Although her passion to serve youth by becoming a teacher ended up not panning out, Houser learned that she didn’t need to “save” the world on a large scale—sometimes, the small things are what create the largest impact. Like the mortar between bricks. It seems pointless, yet without it the bricks would come crashing down.

Not only is Houser an active member in her community, but she also served in APO, the Greek service fraternity on campus.

As aforementioned, Carin Houser wears many hats, and is brimming with skills to be shared around her.

“Carin is a very passionate person,” said Rochelle Pense, one of Houser’s close friends and a fellow APO member. “She will make you smile or laugh by just being her.”

Houser is a great storyteller, both as a writer and as an oral communicator. Her constant busy schedule and interactions with dozens of people on a daily basis makes for impeccable conversation starters or awkward silence-fillers.

Despite having a close family member in the journalism field and as a professor at Millikin, Houser did not shy away from becoming a journalist in her undergrad years.

“I am proud of my daughter,” said Dr. Scott Lambert. “But she annoys me.”

Although this might sound harsh to some, any student who has been in a course with the two of them knows that this banter is part of the playful script which ensues before each class period.

“I was worried about how I would treat her versus the other students,” said Lambert. “I’m the journalism professor, and I know journalism. But with her, I had to change my rules. With all my students, I am aware of their strengths and weaknesses and try to work on them. It was hardest for me to push on her weaknesses without feeling like I was treating her unfairly.”

As someone who knows Houser both as a student and as a person, it was difficult to find a happy medium between being a father-figure and being her professor, yet also rewarding to watch as she grew by being challenged as a human being and as a student.

Though all the zigzagging around the English department was dizzying, it served Houser well in the long run; yet it was not entirely what she had expected when coming to Millikin.

“College has always been on my mind,” said Houser. “My father always worked at a college, but when I got here COVID hit.”

For many seniors graduating this year, COVID-19 played a huge role in their college timeline by taking away their most formative undergraduate year and forcing students to learn via dreaded Zoom meetings.

“It was not what I envisioned,” said Houser.

She felt robbed. Spending more than half of her life wondering what college would be like, waiting for the day she became an undergrad, her expectations were never met.

“College wasn’t what I thought,” said Houser. “My dream is literally coming to a close. It’s surreal.”

Yet is anything ever what we think it is going to be? We all have these grand ideas or thoughtfully curated expectations and nothing in life ever goes as we plan.

However, this does not discourage Houser. Instead, it amplifies her drive to continue to challenge herself in many ways.

Many dreams are crushed in college—many students, for that matter—yet Houser, though her time was not as conventional as she had hoped for, excelled, nonetheless. Her work ethic, passion for people and desire to better both herself and others makes her an unparalleled asset to her surrounding community.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Madelyn Cummins, Writer
Writer 2022- Present

Comments (0)

All The Decaturian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *