If you're fortunate enough to speak with Darion Weber you'll immediately hear the optimism in her voice—and not just because she's our latest Nitro College Scholarship winner.
Handling the unexpected
Missouri Valley College sophomore Darion is a grounded student. She appreciates where she comes from and knows where she's headed—which helped her handle one huge curveball she didn't fully expect.
"I transferred here from Wentworth, a military academy and college in Lexington, Missouri, because they closed down after my freshman year! That changed my whole path,” Darion says.
Wentworth, founded in 1880, was a two-year college just minutes from Darion's home. "I was playing basketball there on a scholarship," she says proudly. "It was definitely a shock and it was a little upsetting."
The knowledge that she and her friends would be ex-teammates a year earlier than expected only served to solidify them even more. "They're from all over—different parts of the United States—and when we realized we'd be separating we just made sure that we spent as much time together as possible, especially weekends at my house."
Home is where her heart is
It's no surprise Darion would bring friends who were far away from their loved ones into her home. "Oh, my family is wonderful," says Darion. "I have a brother and sister—I'm the oldest sibling. My parents are awesome. They help me as much as they can, they've always encouraged me to do my best and be successful on my own, but they're always there for support."
When freshman year ended she didn't waste any time sulking. "I told my mom, I don't really know what I'm gonna do. And she just told me ‘Relax, you know you'll figure it out, you always do.’"
Darion’s approach became practical and philosophical. "I just let it be another door of opportunity, instead of just giving up," she states. "I took action to plan for my future—even though that was kind of unplanned! I immediately started applying to schools."
In transferring schools, Darion also swapped shooting hoops for shooting trap. "My coach—he was a wrestling coach at Wentworth and he was transferring to Missouri Valley—came to me with an offer to be on his shooting team." She took him up on it. "I thought that would be fun and a little adventure, so I chose that over basketball." Even though her new school takes her further from home, she gets back whenever her schedule allows. "I live on campus but I go home to my mom and dad when I'm able to."
"Ever since I was a little girl—probably starting around kindergarten—my dad's always pushed me to do my best." She laughs a little as she recollects. "He would always have me read Charlotte's Web—which is a pretty hard chapter book for children of that age! He was always telling me you can do better than you think you can. Ever since I was that little I was probably thinking about college."
Today Darion is an Exercise Science major who plans to go on to graduate school and become an athletic trainer. "I love college," she enthuses. "Every day I learn new things about my major and feel more comfortable about going into my field because of the teachers, staff, and students here at Missouri Valley."
Her minor concentration reflects her sincere interest in volunteer work. "I'm currently involved with Meals on Wheels for older citizens here in Marshall, Missouri. I'm also involved in Non-Profit Leadership Alliance. I do a lot of volunteer work and non-profit events with NLA."
Tips on Scholarships
Darion found out about Nitro the same way she won our scholarship—via social media. "I have the Scholly app, and it gives you different places to look for scholarships. I was actually looking at the Nitro website and applied for a couple of separate ones. This one, in particular, was very fun for me because I got to put on Instagram why college was important to me. It was fairly easy—it just took a little outside-of-the-box thinking."
We asked Darion if she had any application advice for students trying to pay for college. "When I first started filling out scholarships I was a little nervous that I was gloating too much on myself, but you have to just pour your heart into it and tell everyone who you really are. It's okay because what you want to do is tell the person that's going to give you that scholarship why you deserve it and why you work so hard for it. You're just celebrating your successes."
She also encourages people to not be put off by unsuccessful bids. "If there's a scholarship you don't get, don't let that get you down. Don't give up. Keep applying, because there are some out there that you don't think you're good enough for, but you're the perfect candidate."
When Darion Weber began her college career, she knew she'd have to transfer after sophomore year. When fate stepped in to advance that, she accepted it and moved forward.
Here's what she learned from that experience: "Have a plan but always know that things can change. Because sometimes unexpected events might happen and you may feel overwhelmed at first because it wasn't your plan. Always expect something different to happen. And also, always cherish your family and your home cooking! You know, those nights after basketball games when you beg your mom not to cook because we want to eat out? Once you get to college you are begging for home cooking. Do not take that for granted. It's the best thing ever."
Nitro congratulates Darion Weber and encourages all students to apply for our next Nitro College Scholarship. It's quick and easy to do, and we award one every three months!