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Mizzou Made 2023: Derek Calhoon, BS

May 10, 2023

With commencement coming up on May 13, we’re taking this opportunity to highlight some of the incredible students who make the School of Health Professions such a great place to learn, serve and discover.

Today we meet Derek Calhoon, a Fitness Programming and Management student who hails from Centralia, Missouri.

Derek Calhoon
Derek Calhoon

Derek Calhoon

Major: Fitness Programming and Management
Hometown: Centralia, MO

Favorite Quote:

“Having been is the surest kind of being.”

Viktor E. Frankl (author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”)
What does graduating from the Mizzou School of Health Professions mean to you?

Graduating from Mizzou means the world to me. I grew up at Mizzou, both of my parents have worked here longer than I have been alive, and I have been blessed with the opportunity of coming here not only as a fan but as a child of the University.

Being in the health profession has always been a dream of mine as well — I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people in any way I can. As I have grown, I realized the blatant health epidemic our world faces and how we need all hands on deck to end it.

The Mizzou School of Health Professions does a great job of making its students aware of this issue, essentially pointing out our common enemy, so that we can work together more effectively — whether you’re a nurse, physician, athletic trainer, or lab tech. We make it clear there is a common goal, we can only achieve as One Zou!

What was your favorite class within your degree track?

My favorite class, although I am a little biased, has been FPM 4440W: Fitness Programming. This is because we have not only one of the importance of looking into the future and setting yourself up for success physically, but we also have touched on the benefits of being psychologically aware and the importance of trusting the process that you have laid out in front of yourself. In my eyes, it is one of the most important skills to have when developing a plan of attack for athletes or anyone else.

What activities have you been involved in along the way?

I have not been in too many activities during my journey at Mizzou, partially because I transferred here during COVID after I finished at Moberly Area Community College with the A+ program. Once in-person classes resumed, my work as a personal coach picked up. As a result, being a full-time student and working full time made it difficult to join in on student activities at Mizzou. That is OK as we are all on different journeys, and I would still recommend if someone gets the chance to meet new hard-working people, they need to jump on that opportunity.

Who helped you during your college journey?

This might sound like a cop-out kind of answer, but I’d say my father. He was my lifeline if I needed help and guidance on where I needed to go next and how I should get there. He allowed me to be me, with small (unknowingly to me) nudges in the right direction. I also have great friends I met along the way who kept my head on straight, and I study those who have mastered the art of discipline and did my best to mimic those around me whom I hold to a higher standard.

What memories stand out from your time at Mizzou?

There are probably three core memories that stand out the most.

The first memory that stands out was when I initially transferred to Mizzou and felt ecstatic to start this new chapter in my life and go to the University I had admired for years.

The second was when I moved in with my roommates. That whole year together is an experience I’m glad I will always have. Only two of us were students here at Mizzou, one was studying at Columbia College, and the other already graduated. I only knew one of them — he was my cousin — and the other two I really only knew of. This experience was what brought me out of my shell and taught me that every person you meet may not be your new best friend but in some way, you can always have treasured memories together.

The third memory has been over the past several months: I became the head trainer at Wilson’s Fitness on Rangeline, started an online coaching service to teach people the truth of health and fitness, and am dedicating myself to becoming a “hybrid build athlete,” as popularized by Nick Bare. I will be competing in three contests, bodybuilding, marathon, and powerlifting. In these three events, you must be disciplined beyond belief and can not falter — especially if your goal is to win. I am doing this to prove that anyone can do anything with the discipline to do so. All you need is a meaning to do it.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to get my master’s degree here at Mizzou in Positive Coaching and Counseling. Then, I might continue on to get a PhD in psychology. Of course, staying at Mizzou for that as well — why would anyone leave? 🙂

What advice do you have for current and future students?

It’s basic but true: Don’t worry! Enjoy every moment you’re in and be excited for the next. And try to give your future self an easier life. So when you look back you can be proud of what you have done and not envy those who are about to go through it.

One more thing: Do your best to bring a smile to someone else’s face — they and you both deserve it.