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My Mizzou Story

Kathryn Butler

Health sciences & pre-physical therapy | Bethalto, IL

“Mizzou has taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was. Now I know I can conquer anything that comes my way. I’ve learned I can be a leader even when I get pushed out of my comfort zone.”

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Although I went to a tiny high school with only 50 in my graduating class, I wanted something bigger. I narrowed it to colleges within a 3-hour driving radius, and that included the closest SEC and Big 10 schools. My list consisted of schools in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. I first toured Mizzou during a family vacation my junior year, and though I really liked the campus, I wasn’t in college choice mode yet. Then, senior year, Mizzou was the first campus I toured.

From then on, every campus I visited I found myself comparing to Mizzou. My younger brother, Nathan, tagged along for all of my college tours and pointed out, “every school we visited after Mizzou, you compared to Mizzou and always had reasons why Mizzou was better.” He was right — I absolutely did fall in love with Mizzou and committed in November of my senior year.

Things that stood out to me about Mizzou included the campus in the fall, the Quad, the trees, and being able to walk across campus in 15 minutes. Once here, I quickly discovered the best things about Mizzou are the academic resources at the Student Success Center. My freshman and sophomore year, I probably met with tutors three times a week. They helped me so much, and I don’t think Mizzou students use these resources as much as they should. It’s important to reach out for help before it is too late. I’ve learned there is nothing wrong and no shame in asking for help.

I’ve lived through the pandemic and challenging classes my first two years, and Mizzou has taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was. Now I know I can conquer anything that comes my way. I’ve learned I can be a leader even when I get pushed out of my comfort zone. I’m on the Tiger Tour Team, I teach cycling classes at MizzouRec, I’m a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and I volunteer with Best Buddies, an organization that pairs those in the Columbia area who have intellectual or developmental disabilities with Mizzou students in the hopes of forming meaningful friendships.

While I’ve learned I can accomplish a lot, I’ve also become aware that it is possible to take on too much. What has really surprised me the most is that while Mizzou is a big SEC school, there is so much that makes it feel like a community. When the pandemic hit during my freshman year, one of my professors, Dr. Nancy Z., would reach out and check on us individually and see how we were doing. She really cared about our mental health and helped us process what was going on.

Dr. Greg C. in Rehabilitation Science is so passionate about the subject and has given me names and locations where I can job shadow physical therapists. Plus, he gives us real-world examples about what graduate schools prefer in candidates. In addition to caring about you, everyone also wants to see you succeed. I’m planning to work with the Writing Center and the Career Center to work on my physical therapy school applications.

Now that I’m preparing for my last year at Mizzou, I should note that all those campus tours I went on four years ago made an impression on more than one person in my family: Nathan will be a freshman here in the fall.

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