A Year of Faces


Written by Muleskinner Staff

By BETHANY SHERROW Assistant News Editor (WARRENSBURG, Mo.,digitalBURG) —

Everyone on this campus has a story, each one unique and important.

I should know. I’ve spent the last year discovering them. I’ve made it my job to tell the stories of the individuals I’ve come across at UCM.

I would often approach people who looked friendly, who seemed to be participating in something interesting, or those who even looked frazzled.

I would interview people based on outward appearance. After all, I had nothing else to go on – I was interviewing random strangers. So I would pray for that person to have something interesting to say – something different than the last one.

What I discovered was that each person I talked to had so much more to them than what my eyes could see. While these people were all unique, their personalities and backgrounds turned out to include experiences I would have never expected of them.

One hundred percent of the time, whatever unintentional stereotypes, preconceived notions or quick judgments I made about a particular person turned out to be completely false.

People would start to tell me their stories and they would be so much deeper than I expected.

Each person’s world would slowly come alive as they shared with me their past, present and future aspirations.

In the few minutes I would spend with each Face of UCM, I was given a new perspective.

That person would transform from a stranger, wearing whatever ideas I had projected of them, into an authentic person. A person made of happiness, laughter, love, hopes and dreams.

Someone like me, but also not quite.

The very first “Faces of UCM” featured a girl named Bobbye Jackman.

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY BOBBYE JACKMAN Bobbye Jackman, a recent UCM alumna, teaches junior high and high school social studies. Jackman was the first "Faces of UCM."
Bobbye Jackman, a recent UCM alumna, teaches junior high and high school social studies. Jackman was the first “Faces of UCM.”

I approached her in the Elliott Student Union while she was painting spirit windows.

At that time, Jackman was a senior education major who was graduating in May 2015.

I spoke with her last week and asked what it was like being the first person interviewed for Faces of UCM.

Jackman said she remembered being interviewed and that when she saw it in the newspaper, she thought it was really neat because she had never been featured like that before.

After being the first Face of UCM, Jackman said she looked for them in the Muleskinner because she wanted to see more stories.

“You pass everybody every day going to class, but then when you grab that newspaper and see the spotlight on a person, you see a different aspect of who a person is,” she said. “It gives you a new perspective.”

That is exactly why I love to tell these stories. Finding out where people come from and what is important to them does give a new perspective to me and those who read their stories.

Understanding each other makes us a better and more accepting community.

I usually only get one chance to tell a person’s story, but by catching up with Jackman almost exactly a year later, I learned that many changes have happened in her life.

After graduating from UCM, Jackman moved to Slater, Missouri, where she teaches junior high and high school social studies for the Slater School District.

Jackman said she feels like she has grown and matured by 10 years in a one-year time span. Being a teacher has forced her to grow-up.

“It’s definitely changed me a lot and I feel like for the better,” she said.

Jackman said UCM made an impact on her life, and she tells all her students about her experience.

She said she wishes she would have taken advantage of opportunities, like the study abroad program, while she was in school.

“Follow the dreams you have, and take all the classes you can while you’re at UCM,” Jackman said.

While being a real “grown-up” can be scary, Jackman said she has faced a lot of challenges but continues to live in the moment because you never know what tomorrow may bring.

“It’s kind of weird talking to you because I’m getting perspective on the last year and seeing how much things change,” Jackman said. “You don’t realize things can change so much.”

Even though her college career may have ended, Jackman said she plans on attending UCM’s homecoming football game with friends this fall.

“I’ll definitely be back,” she said. “It’s never goodbye.”

I loved talking to Jackman because it felt like I was talking to an old friend, hearing what she has been up to.

And like Jackman, I started thinking about myself.

I’ve changed.

In the past year, I’ve approached and interviewed 30 people and told their stories. These people have changed me.

I’ve become a person who is more understanding and more open. I love writing about people and finding out what is important to them.

Everyone on this campus has a story: each one is unique, important and worth sharing.

While I plan to continue Faces of UCM, I’m also starting “Letter to Your Freshman Self,” a new project in which senior students can write a letter to their freshman selves, giving them advice and describing their college experiences. If you’re interested in participating, email me at [email protected] or call 660-543-4050.