Lillian Hucke ’24  |  Published October 29, 2020

Pursuing Her Passions

Hannah Decker ’21 able to be involved heavily in music while also studying psychology, classics.

HANNAH DECKER: Senior studying music, psychology and classics says the opportunity be involved in... HANNAH DECKER: Senior studying music, psychology and classics says the opportunity be involved in a variety of activities makes Monmouth special.MONMOUTH, Ill. – When picturing her senior year at college, Hannah Decker did not plan for a global pandemic.

Decker, the youngest of four children, came to Monmouth from Maryland Heights, Missouri, to be closer to her older sister, who went to Knox College. Decker soon found that Monmouth was her home away from home.

“One of the reasons I wanted to come to Monmouth was because of the warm and homey feel,” she said. “I felt that students and faculty wanted me to be there and were excited for new people to come to campus.”

Decker found her academic passion in her double major of psychology and music, and her minor in classics. She has developed close relationships with professors, particularly Marsha Dopheide in psychology and Stacy Dziuk in music, who both made it easy for her to adjust to college life.

Dopheide said Decker “is a wonderful student to work with because she is always thinking about things from an interdisciplinary perspective. I always enjoy working with her and learning new things from her.”

Decker said she knew she could always count on Dopheide for wise advice, and on Dziuk for support.

“I love to be able to do everything and be in so many different things. That’s what makes Monmouth so special.” Hannah Decker ’21

“Professors are extremely understanding at Monmouth, and that takes the edge off life’s stress,” said Decker. “Having understanding and supportive professors makes me want to keep going and get better.”

Decker is involved in the women’s fraternity Pi Beta Phi, numerous honor societies and three music ensembles – Pipe Band, Marching Band and Wind Ensemble. She’s learned that being involved in numerous activities is one of the aspects that sets Monmouth apart.

“I love to be able to do everything and be in so many different things,” she said. “That’s what makes Monmouth so special.”

Being involved brought Decker out of her shell and encouraged her to talk to more people. She learned that people can be very similar, yet also very different. Being able to meet new people with different perspectives enhanced her experience within her cocurricular activities.

Throughout her education, Decker’s motto has been to remain humble and not allow social constructs to influence who she is. Standing by her motto, she discovered how she could make a difference. Over the summer, she worked as a caregiver for Home Instead Senior Care, which ignited her passion for caring for the elderly. She is currently applying to professional programs to study geriatric therapy.

Life with masks

What Decker did not anticipate about her Monmouth experience was COVID-19 and the effect it would have on college life. One of the biggest negatives that Decker experienced was not being able to see her friends.

“I miss learning with my classmates,” she said. “There’s something different about class when you experience it in person.”

“Stay focused, but enjoy the little things. Do what you want to do. Do not let others tell you who you can be.” Hannah Decker ’21

Decker said the Monmouth faculty has done a great job adapting to the pandemic. She said they’ve been understanding with technology malfunctions, realizing that the entire campus community is experiencing something new.

“Life at Monmouth has not been the same since the coronavirus,” said Decker, who has found herself missing the memories that she should have had, such as her final marching band season.

With the stress of having a different senior year, staying healthy and her schoolwork, Decker has still found ways to help her stay mentally happy. She goes on long hikes, meditates, listens to music and plays with her kitten, Penelope.

‘Enjoy the little things’

When asked what advice she had for future students, she replied with sentiments she’s carried with her throughout her college career.

“Stay focused, but enjoy the little things,” she advised. “Do what you want to do. Do not let others tell you who you can be.”

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