For some, college is an inevitable stepping stone that has been in place since childhood. For Amanda Zitting, college was never forced or expected, but new and exciting.
Amanda grew up as the second oldest daughter in a family of nine, living in a small southwest Missouri town. She is a first-generation college student at Missouri State University, and as a Bear she has developed her passion to help people live healthier lifestyles.
“I came to Missouri State because I visited the campus and it is beautiful in more ways than just the first impression,” Amanda says. “It is beautiful within its passion and the growth it instills within the students. And it just felt like home”
Amanda, a senior in the dietetics program, plans to graduate in May 2016. She hopes to use her education to help women and children learn to maintain and improve their health through their diets. Specifically, she hopes to serve malnourished people in the developing world. Her interest in service is a direct reflection of how passionate she is about people’s ability to transform their lives simply by changing their diets.
Adapting to the college lifestyle
As she transitioned to life at Missouri State, Amanda didn’t have a specific major in mind. When she learned about the dietetics program, she knew it was the right choice for her.
In the beginning, her one hesitation dealt with realizing how much her studies would become a part of her life, but her doubt was wiped away when she fell in love with the program.
“My dietetic studies had to consume me in order for me to learn and learn well,” she says. “Over time here at Missouri State, I became truly passionate for those lessons. Now I have all that I need to encourage people.”
What I’m learning in school is so applicable to life. Being able to learn about how to encourage the health of people is a blessing, and after being educated myself on cardiovascular disease and heart failure [so tragic, so preventable] and how destructive we can be to our own bodies because of the effort we decide not to put forth or the seemingly ridiculous food choices that we make, I am reminded to be proactive with my own health and to continually be optimistic towards others in their pursuit of health. Start today, because the way I see and you’ll be seeing it, is you either learn to help your body and prevent disease and illness, or you learn to control it and “have the best possible outcome” later. You truly ARE what you eat. I’m NOT a fish lover, but after learning that I can have 50% less of a risk of cardiac arrest later in life if I eat fatty fish [[[packed with EPA, DHA, and healthy fats like omega 3s that decrease inflammation, coagulation, and constriction of blood vessels]]] once a week, salmon it is, folks.
She joined the Student Dietetic Association during her sophomore year and instantly felt a connection to the organization. In her senior year, she was chosen as president of the organization. “At first, I was very resistant to become too consumed by the college life, but it has happened gradually without me knowing,” Amanda says. “I want to encourage younger classmates to be comfortable here, and I am able to do that.”
Feeling at home
Springfield became home to Amanda once she felt comfortable through her involvement at Missouri State. From early on, she explored the city and found places that she has grown to love. Amanda’s love for coffee has resulted in her sampling all the coffee shops around town. She also enjoys running along the Nature Center and riding her bike along the Sequiota Trail.
Life after Missouri State
After graduation, Amanda will go wherever her career leads her, whether that means staying in Missouri or relocating across the world. She is excited for what the future holds and she would not have traded her time as a Missouri State Bear for anything.
This story was created for JRN 478 (Multimedia Reporting). All content was created by Missouri State students from the departments of communication and media, journalism and film. This story was originally published on The Springfield Report, a multimedia journalism project by Missouri State students.
- Photography by Intisar Faulkner
- Social media by Liz Rodgers
- Story editing by Tyler Hatten
- Reporting by Leona Zitting
- Editor-in-chief: Beaunea McNeil