Eight…that is the number of graduate schools I applied to. It is also the number of graduate schools I was accepted to. One million; that’s about the number of times I freaked out trying to decide which school was right for me. One is the number of schools I was actually able to choose because apparently you can’t attend more than one graduate school at a time. Who knew?
I am from Palmyra, Missouri. I would ask if you have ever heard of it, but I know you probably haven’t, because just about no one has. Palmyra has a population of about 4,000, a little too small for my liking. My mother was a single parent, and we were never wealthy. When deciding on where to go for my undergrad, I knew I wanted to go somewhere bigger, but preferably not too far from home. It also could not be too expensive, otherwise college would not be an option. Truman State University wasn’t too far from home, had a pretty great reputation, and was affordable. I decided to attend Truman, and ended up spending the next four years of my life in Kirksville, Missouri.
When I started at Truman, I thought I hated research. Any time someone said they were going to join a research team, or conduct their own research, I thought it sounded absolutely terrible. The thing is, though, I had no reason to not like it. I had never done research other than writing papers or finding information already made public by someone else. So when I learned about the McNair Program at Truman, I figured it was worth it to try my hand at conducting research. I applied for the McNair Program my sophomore year, and was accepted. I went on to conduct my own research and was published in the McNair Scholarly Review in April 2016.
During my time in McNair, I realized that I actually love research. I love being able to find out new information that no one has found. I knew that the graduate school I attended needed to offer opportunities for students to participate in research, and would love for that school to continue to support my history as a McNair scholar.
The other concern was that it also, like Truman, needed to be affordable. Graduate school was never really part of my plan, but by the time I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, it was the only thing I knew I wanted to do. So, I needed to find a graduate school that promoted research, provided continued support and opportunity for McNair scholars, and would be affordable. And the school I found was Missouri State University.
Missouri State University is a strong promoter of research, which was the major attraction for me. When I visited campus and met with Dr. David Claborn in the Master of Public Health department, his excitement for research assured me I had chosen the right school. I am now studying public health at MSU, and am learning from some of the most enthusiastic, involved, and caring faculty I have ever had the opportunity to learn from. I assist Dr. Claborn with his research on mosquitoes and am learning new information I never thought I would be exposed to. Missouri State provided me with everything I wanted in a graduate school – affordability, research opportunity, and work through a Graduate Assistantship.
I made the choice to move to Springfield based on the fact that I knew Missouri State was the school for me, even though I did not know more than two people here when I moved. Sounds terrifying, right? It was. However, I knew MSU had the opportunity and resources I was craving that made that terrifying fact, well, less terrifying. Springfield has an enormous amount of opportunity for students and things to do that made me excited to be here. Finding a place where I was able to have a fresh perspective and not be terrified about not knowing anyone was extremely comforting, and I had no worries about it at all. I found not only opportunity at Missouri State, but I also found another home, where I’m supposed to be. – Meghan Meyers
Meghan is a 1st year graduate student and Graduate Assistant in the Master’s of Public Health program.