Despite fielding several out-of-state offers due to her speed and success on the track, Bekiredamaje Williams decided to continue the legacy of her parents and siblings by staying in Decatur, Ill., to attend Millikin University. Initially, Bekiredamaje, who goes by Bekire, hoped to land at a school that was both away from home, but not too far. As she continued her college search, Bekire listened more to her family members who recommended that Millikin was the perfect place.
"My parents are alumni and so are my siblings, and I ended up choosing Millikin because of them," Williams said, and while she was hesitant about staying so close to home at first, having her family nearby soon became a benefit of attending Millikin. Bekire discovered that visits from her family helped with her college experience because of the support she received for her academics, athletics and mental health.
Bekire chose to live on-campus at Millikin, and that decision has helped her gain independence and eased her adjustment to college life. "I believe the college experience depends on living independently," she said.
Another aspect of on-campus living that Bekire values is the opportunity to meet a wide range of different people. She noted, "you'll get to know people from all over the United States, or even all over the world." Meeting people from around the globe might not be what comes to mind for most when they think of small-town Decatur, but Bekire said that she appreciates the diversity present in Millikin's close-knit community.
While at Millikin, Bekire has been able to grow and find herself as an individual while carrying on the legacy of her parents and siblings. Her family's influence shines through in her involvement with track and field, which her brother competed in while at Millikin, and the Black Student Union. Bekire's older sister was an advocate for multicultural voices across campus, and Bekire hopes to continue that work.
Even though it was her family's influence that largely helped Bekire decide on Millikin, she has made a Millikin Experience that is entirely her own.
To me, the Millikin Experience is about being able to find yourself. When you find yourself and become accepting of it, and when you love every bit of yourself, you can go out there and be you.
— Bekierdamaje Williams,
Throughout the rest of her college career at Millikin, Bekire hopes to mature as a person and to create a clearer picture of what her life after graduation will look like. She aims to graduate Summa Cum Laude and to make the most of what Millikin has to offer. Bekire Made it Millikin, and through the support from her school, her team and her family, she feels confident in her ability to reach her goals and go further than she knows possible.