Some incoming freshmen become nervous as they enter a new world of independence and responsibility. As a member of the Honors Program, Jaylon Joyner proved that maintaining academic achievement can be done during the first year of a student’s college career.

Upon arriving on campus, Joyner focused his newfound freedom on accomplishing his goals by double majoring in athletic training and physical education. His interest in these fields was partly encouraged from his high school trainer who received his master’s in the same field.

One of the things Joyner has enjoyed about the Honors Program at Illinois State is that it has motivated him and the other students to be themselves.

“It wasn’t about what anyone wanted for us but what we wanted for ourselves,” he said.

What Joyner wanted for himself was to exceed requirements for the program, making the Dean’s List in his first year. In addition, he will be the first one in his family to graduate from a university. His driven mentality comes from his strong family foundation’s spiritual base, which has allowed him to overcome pressures freshmen encounter during their first year.

“If I keep God first, I won’t have to worry about anything,” he said.

Staying focused, Jaylon researched where his degree could lead him after graduation through an Honors Program course. Seeing the importance of planning for future success, he began planning future courses for his 4–5 year college career. After graduation, he plans to conduct athletic training and physical education at the high school level, eventually earning his M.A. in athletic training, and then moving to the collegiate and professional level in athletic training.

Joyner’s curiosity to try new things has also influenced him to research organizations for a better understanding of the field. His ambition has guided him to branch out in organizations related to his major like the Athletic Training Club. He also serves as a Tri-Towers resident assistant (RA), a role which helps him to better manage his time. He plans to join the student chapter NAACP organization and My Brother’s Keeper, through which he will continue to challenge himself and grow as a person.