Q&A with first-generation student Emma Schudel

In honor of National First-Generation Student Week, Emma Schudel, junior animal sciences major from Columbia, Missouri, discusses her experience as a first-generation college student.

Emma Schudel.
Photo courtesy of Emma Schudel.

Q: Why did you choose Mizzou?
 As a Columbia native, I was too attached to my community to leave. I stayed home with my mom and wouldn’t have it any other way!

Q: Why CAFNR/your chosen major?
 I have always been an animal lover, I grew up going to the St. Louis Zoo, so I’ve wanted to be a vet or a zookeeper for as long as I can remember. Now I am interested in captive wild animal conservation work to save endangered species from extinction. Animal science was never a question for me.

Q: What were/are some challenges you faced as a first-generation student?
Financial troubles are the hardest challenges. I was awarded scholarships and grants, but I still work 20+ hours a week.

Q: Who has helped you overcome those challenges?
My friends and family. I couldn’t have done it without staying in Columbia with my loved ones. We help each other out.

Q: What’s your favorite part of attending Mizzou?
As a Columbia native, I love traditions such as homecoming, football games, etc. I also love seeing other people from all over the country and world experience my hometown. It is so rewarding showing new people around!

Q: What advice would you give other first-generation college students?
I would tell other first-generation students to not be afraid to ask for help. I have always been quiet and refused to ask others for help.

Q: How will your college experience impact your future?
Without the connections I have made at CAFNR and animal science, both students and faculty, I would have no idea how to navigate in professional settings, how to make connections, how to save money, etc.