When Peyton Metry chose Illinois State, she knew she wanted a challenge that would feed her inner drive, and a combination of pursuits both in and out of the classroom. The junior special education major decided to take advantage of this unique time in her life to pursue service, teamwork, athletics, philanthropy, and leadership, in addition to individual learning experiences through the Honors Program.
“My philosophy is that we grow when we allow ourselves the opportunity to explore many things and pursue leadership roles,” Metry shares.
Metry took advantage of the opportunity to join the Honors Program as an Illinois State student in the fall of 2020, her sophomore year. “As a very driven individual and student,” Metry says, “I thrive in environments where I am not only challenged by those around me, but I am internally driven to unlock my abilities and capabilities.”
Metry believes students are more capable than they believe. She encourages others to identify the “best of themselves” and push for more. Metry says her involvement in the Honors Program has motivated her to dig deep and challenge herself.
In her first semester as an Honors student, she appreciated the opportunity in Honors Mindset Seminar to interview a professional in her career field. Their conversation left her feeling optimistic and looking forward to not only her career, but all the opportunities available to students at Illinois State.
The student leader quickly became very involved on campus. Currently, she is part of Peace Corps Prep and serves as a Peace Corps Campus Ambassador. Metry is president of Friends for Peace, a student organization dedicated to promoting world peace, service opportunities, and community events.
In addition, Metry is the philanthropy director for Epsilon Sigma Alpha and a captain on the women’s lacrosse team. She has also worked as an academic and ASL tutor, as well as a volunteer for nonprofit organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Special Olympics.
Metry has gone on to dig deeper into her special education classes through the pursuit of Honors Contracts. She then worked one-on-one with a faculty member on an Honors Independent Study, which allowed Metry to apply the knowledge she learned in previous classes.
Metry believes the saying, “When opportunity knocks, open the door,” is the main pathway to success at Illinois State. “Be open to any and all opportunities,” Metry advises. When students try something new, they can easily change their mind later or decide it’s not for them.
She encourages students to maintain a reasonable, yet flexible life balance between school and other adventures. Metry says she rotates her focus among the following: academics, social interactions, giving back, work, and physical well-being. This approach has made her well-rounded as she strives to give 100% of herself when she is engaged in a particular area.
After she graduates from Illinois State, Metry plans to volunteer as a member of the U.S. Peace Corps, supporting students outside of the United Students who have differing and unique learning capabilities. Ultimately, Metry has an interest in disability law and advocating for support for underrepresented individuals.