“I embarked on this journey 25 years ago. I started my higher education by taking one class – Math 10 (College Algebra) – at the University of Missouri. I was in a class with more than 300 students, and the instructor told me I would not pass his class. I was bummed out but felt determined to pass his class, but unfortunately, I did not. Therefore, I was ineligible to enroll for the following semester, which drove me into the workforce.
I worked for a year and a half before applying and getting accepted into Columbia College’s evening program. I was enrolled in the evening program for four consecutive years despite working numerous jobs. The financial stress of not knowing how I was going to keep paying for both college and living expenses was consuming. In the summer of 2001, I thought I was on top at least and took a class through Columbia College but was let down by the grade. In September 2006, a student worker asked me one day on break at Rollins Dining Hall, “Do you plan on working here the rest of your life?” I stated defiantly, “No.” He then encouraged me to pursue my education and said I should finish my degree and he would support me in whatever capacity I needed. I thought about this student, his offer, and how he would support me in whatever capacity I needed. I then began researching, and a couple of weeks later I was back as a Mizzou student receiving a large tuition discount for University employees, which was a great benefit.
After restarting my career at Mizzou and relearning the ropes all over again, I have made great connections and have never given up. The instructors and advisors have seen potential in me in every avenue. I have been through many hardships during this journey of completing my education, from a torn meniscus surgery to having both hips replaced. Despite having my hips replaced, Dr. Jim Spain was there checking in to see if I was going to register for the next semester. It was a tough decision. My support team knows that I can be stubborn and bull headed. With the encouragement and perseverance of my strong support system, I continued my education. The time is now!!! I have finally completed this chapter of my life, and I give special thanks to my family, friends and especially my co-workers who covered me as I attended class. My college journey is now complete; I graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies and a Multicultural Certificate in May 2017. M I Z - Z O U!”
"To: Office of Multidisciplinary Degrees
My story of graduating from the University of Missouri spans 30 years. I first enrolled at the University in the Fall of 1986. I attempted to major in Hotel and Restaurant Management, but lacking focus and direction, I ended up leaving MU around 1989-90. I sporadically took a few classes at a variety of local colleges, but that, much to my parent’s dismay, was the conclusion of my quest for University degree…or so I thought.
Fast forward to the Fall of 2008, when I found myself offered a position working for the University of Missouri, at KOMU-TV 8, in the Sales Department. As an employee of the University, I had the opportunity to take classes at a reduced tuition, but I was scared to death to ask “Where do I start?” and “Who do I talk to?” They couldn’t possibly take me back into the University…
Finally, in the Summer of 2013 I began to look into how I might pursue my degree and met Carlynn Trout from the Office of Multidisciplinary Degrees. Carlynn was so patient in listening to my unique circumstance, offered me a clear plan to gather the information I would need to apply for admission, researched all the old classes I took and how they translated to the current credit system, (since it had significantly changed), and counseled me on how to achieve an unusual goal: admission into the University of Missouri Japanese Program.
Admission to the University Japanese Program would fulfill a dream I had for years: the ability to speak, read and write passable Japanese, understand Japanese culture and history, and eventually, make my first trip to Japan. With Carlynn’s help and advice, I was re-accepted to the University of Missouri and enrolled in the Japanese Program in the Fall Semester of 2013. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Spring 2016, having achieved a 4.0 grade point average during my 3 years as a nontraditional undergrad in my 40’s.
Finally, I got to experience the ultimate reward for all the hard work learning Japanese – in the summer of 2016, from July to September, I worked for a Japanese company in Fukuoka, Japan, as a marketing researcher and consultant. I got to enjoy the culture, food and history that I had wanted to know so much about firsthand. It was the experience of a lifetime.
I can’t thank Carlynn and the Office of Multidisciplinary Degrees enough for having an option for a nontraditional student like me – allowing me to finish a degree that I started 30 years before, allowing my family to see me walk across the stage at commencement, and opening more doors for me than I ever thought possible. Currently my wife and I live in the Portland, Oregon area, where I am an Account Executive for KGW Media Group, interact on a regular basis with the Japanese business community, and keep in touch with all of my personal and business contact overseas in Fukuoka. I couldn’t be prouder to have graduated a Tiger. MIZ…"
"Discovering the Interdisciplinary Studies major completely changed my college experience. From feeling unenthusiastic about my first major and pigeonholed in my second, the Interdisciplinary Studies major made me feel free to explore all of my interests and still graduate in four years. The freedom and flexibility built into this degree made my classes much less stressful, more relevant to my interests, and so much more enjoyable!"
“I came to Mizzou unsure which direction I wanted to go with my education, and the International Studies major ended up being a perfect fit. I had the freedom to craft my emphasis area (Peace Studies) and required coursework around my own interests. I was able to study two different foreign languages – French and Russian – through the program, and I ended up adding a second major in Russian. The International Studies major also empowered me to study abroad not once, but three times – in Ecuador, Estonia, and Kazakhstan. This program is perfect if you want flexibility in coursework combined with a major that employers are seeking.
I will begin my career as a federal law enforcement officer after graduation.”