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Name: Matt McCabe
Hometown: Pekin, IL
Year: Junior Major/Minor:
RPTA/Management ECOEE Committee: Publications and Promotions
I have heard recently that Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration is a "discovery" major. Meaning that most high school graduates aren't immediately aware of this career path, and we often have unique and interesting ways of "discovering" it. My personal story completely embodies this phenomenon.
For starters, after high school I went to a private liberal arts school called Monmouth College to play football. However, I was recovering from a broken arm and realized that I was not interested in another four years that felt just like high school. At the same time, I also lost one of my best friends in a car accident; and I quickly realized that life is too short to study economics! So after receiving academic honors from Monmouth College my freshman year: I transferred to Illinois State University to go to school with my brother. He was just returning from the occupation of Iraq, where he was awarded the Purple Heart for his service. I thought I could help make the transition to college easier for him. However, this arrangement did not last long.
After transferring to a community college, I eventually moved back in with my parents; and I was promoting concerts in the Peoria area. This turned out to be great experience, but I knew it wasn’t a career path by itself. Somehow, I ended up back at Monmouth College last spring and I was pursuing my passion of music academically; because I simply did not know what else to study.
It was during this time last spring, and by the good fortune of luck and fate, that I found myself in a lengthy discussion with ECOEE alum Ryan Deboer. At that time he was preparing to leave for ECOEE in the fall. He told me all about the RPTA major, the ECOEE program, and career paths available to this department. It did not take me but five minutes to realize this was exactly what I had been looking for since I graduated high school. I had “discovered” exactly where I was supposed to be. The very next morning I had to inform my parents that I was transferring again, making WIU my fourth college. This was a decision that none of us have looked back on since.
In fact, ECOEE was the main reason that I transferred to WIU. In retrospect, I knew very little about the program or the major at the time; but I knew I needed a lifestyle change. I feel that modern life is full of distractions that disconnect us from the true power of nature. I feel our society has lost its sense of interconnectedness with each other and with nature. For this reason, I am really looking forward to submerging myself into the majesty of Mother Nature for extended periods of time. With this experience I hope to have a true shift in my ideological and philosophical paradigms. I want to connect with my higher-self, and with the power of Mother Nature. In the future I hope to be able to facilitate this transformation of consciousness in others.
Dream Your Life, Live Your Dreams!