Kelly Dade

How did you determine that college was the right path for you, and how did you decide where you would attend?

I started taking college courses when I was 15 and everyone at my high school was very supportive. I had a drive for learning, so I knocked out a lot of general courses. I decided where I wanted to attend based on financial packages. Now I’ve found my college home and I don’t regret my decision at all.

What were the biggest challenges you faced — from enrollment to diploma — and how did you overcome them?

Balancing money, paying for college and all the expenses while allowing a good enough portion of time to be devoted to your studies — so you can land a good job! I am still figuring this out, but it is very important to not overwhelm yourself and put too much on your plate at once. Start small, then you’ll see it all coming together.

How did you meet people, make friends and get involved at your university?

Meeting people was a little hard at first. Making GroupMes or Snapchat groups with your classmates definitely helps! I made GroupMes for almost all of my in-person classes. Now I have lifelong friends. I also went to an Engineering Success Bridge Program the summer before I started at Mizzou and that is where I met my closest friends.

Outside of your academic studies, what did college teach you about yourself? How did those lessons help you in your professional career?

College, or at least the atmosphere in college, has taught me what it means to persevere. I have learned more about who I am as a person, and what I want to become, in college than all the other years of my life. College has helped push me out of my comfort zone and achieve things I’ve never thought possible. I am in a research position (McNair Scholars) currently and I never thought I’d be given the opportunity to conduct my own research under a professor in engineering.

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