Congrats to the Mizzou class of 2020!

I arrived on campus in the fall of 1992. I was a biology major determined to go to medical school in 1996. Instead, I graduated with degrees in English and Secondary Education, with a minor in history, in the spring of 1997.

I never could have predicted that change, or the many other wonderful experiences I had through the University of Missouri. I never thought I would join a sorority, but some of my Alpha Phi sisters are my closest friends to this day. I never thought I would leave my home state, but my time studying abroad in London gave me a global perspective that I strive to remember as an American.

That lesson — the one of embracing change and learning from it — has followed me through my adult life. I have lived in 8 different cities in the U.S. I’ve had two careers and am in graduate school again for a third. Most careers are not a straightforward trajectory — they are full of zigs and zags, hits and misses, highs and lows. Pay attention in those valleys; the lessons you learn will serve you well as you recover and succeed.

The one constant in all of my transience has been Mizzou and the Mizzou Alumni Association. I’ve served on two local alumni chapter boards in New York and Atlanta, and I’ve been a member of the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women since 2011; I joined the board last year. These chances for leadership with fellow alums across the country have given me experience, a network to turn to for professional advice, and, most importantly, myriad friends in a variety of cities.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to have your collegiate experience come to an end like this. But I can say that while I left Missouri 20 years ago, Mizzou will always be home.