Q&A with first-generation student Harleigh Lewis

In honor of National First-Generation Student Week, Harleigh Lewis, sophomore agricultural education major from Brunswick, Missouri, discusses her experience as a first-generation college student.

Photo Harleigh Lewis.

Q: Why did you choose Mizzou?
 I chose the University of Missouri for multiple reasons. The main reason was that during my first tour at Mizzou I felt at home. I remember having a feeling lifted off my shoulders of choosing where I was going to go to college because right then I knew I wanted to be a Tiger!

Q: Why CAFNR/your chosen major?
 I chose Agriculture Education because of my passion for agriculture and education. Being Ag Ed allows me to share my passion for education and teaching others, while also allowing me to be a member of CAFNR.

Q: What were/are some challenges you faced as a first-generation student?
One challenge as a first-generation student was choosing a university. Most students will choose a college where their parents/guardians went or a college where they cheered for a team. This wasn’t the case for me; therefore, everything was very new. The overall newness was a huge challenge.

Q: Who has helped you overcome those challenges?
In order to help myself overcome this challenge, my mom and I spoke with several people in the CAFNR office who explained class breakdowns, financial aid and scholarships, and leadership opportunities. I would also say that taking every opportunity that has been presented to me and running with it has helped tremendously with the “newness” as I have been introduced to more people.

Q: What’s your favorite part of attending Mizzou?
 My favorite part of attending Mizzou thus far is my dorm experience. My random roommate freshman year in the Hudson dorms is still my best friend to this day. I wouldn’t trade the memories or friends I made while living in the dorms.

Q: What advice would you give other first-generation college students?
Ask questions!!! People are here to help and want to see you succeed. There is no such thing as a dumb question!!!

Q: How will your college experience impact your future?
Within CAFNR I have made so many friends and built lasting connections with colleagues. In the future, it will be important for me to lean on my colleagues for help and guidance, and because of my experience at Mizzou, I know I will always have someone to lean on.