After enduring hardships, MSA presidential candidate McFarland looks to make a difference at MU

Ever since he was young, he has loved working in the community and making a difference.

In the eighth grade, Jordan McFarland searched for “top 25 schools for journalism majors” on Google. He came across a picture of Memorial Union on one list and didn’t know what it was but felt “completely intoxicated.”

Fast forward seven years and junior Jordan McFarland is no longer a journalism major, but Memorial Union remains one of his favorite places on campus.

McFarland switched his major to history and secondary education because he said he has always had empathy for teachers. His Grammy, one of his role models, was a teacher all of her life. Ever since McFarland was young, he has loved working in the community and making a difference.

“He cares about this campus so, so much,” McFarland’s roommate Jordan Winn said. “He won’t shut up about it, ever: just about all of the ways he wants to do everything he can to just improve campus and life for every student here.”

Winn said McFarland would make a great teacher because he has a passion for helping people.

“He’s just the nicest dude in the world,” Winn said. “He really just wants the best for everybody. He’s incredibly selfless and well-intentioned in everything he does.”

Currently, McFarland is giving back to the community by working at Fun City, a non-profit organization that offers programming for children.

“They call them at-risk children (but) I like to say ‘full-of-potential children,’” McFarland said. “All they want to do is know the world without all of the trials they have been through and that pure innocence keeps you driving.”

In 2009, McFarland endured his own trials when he became paralyzed from an H1N1 vaccine. He said he remembers waking up less and less everyday and how much pain he felt seeing his family watch him go through it.

“It hurt more than anything,” McFarland said.

During his sixth day in the hospital, he said he had been awake for only an hour and knew he would slip back asleep soon.

He asked his Grammy if he was going to die because he knew she would not lie to him. She told him “we don’t talk like that” and burst into tears and had to turn away from him.

He said he rolled over with “every piece of energy” he had left within himself to face the sunlight because he wanted to remember what it looked like.

That night, the doctors diagnosed and started treating him for Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition where the immune system attacks the nerves.

When McFarland was released from the hospital, doctors told him to take a three-month break from school. Instead, he turned to his dad and asked about starting on Monday.

When he got to school that Monday, the wheelchair entrance was a “great, long slope of 30 yards.” He said he refused help because he wanted to prove to himself that he could be independent.

“I had so many blisters, and I didn’t care because for that moment, the thing that everyone would look at me to define me as I rejected and that made me proud,” McFarland said.

As an MU student, McFarland became involved in Hatch Hall government and the Residence Halls Association. Through his involvement in Hatch he met T.J. Hinch, who eventually became his running mate in last year’s MSA presidential elections.

“When working with Jordan, I always felt that my ideas were valid and that he was taking them to heart,” Hinch said. “So far in my time here at college, that has been a rarity.”

Hinch said they both realized that even if they didn’t win the election, they proved that anyone who wants to run in an MSA election can run.

McFarland’s favorite college memory took place during his freshman year at a Missouri football game against Florida. During the game, all of the fans did the “gator chomp.”

“I will remember that for the rest of my life; 70,000 fans going ‘we will rock you,’” McFarland said. “We weren’t supposed to be good. We weren’t supposed to do that but we just kept exceeding expectations.”

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