Q&A with first-generation student Lidia Myers

In honor of National First-Generation Student Week, Lidia Myers, senior plant science major from Fredericktown, Missouri, discusses her experience as a first-generation college student.

Lidia Myers

Q: Why did you choose Mizzou?
A: I chose to attend Mizzou for several reasons, such as the high graduation/employment rate of my program, the ample amount of funding through scholarships and grants, and research opportunities for undergrads.

Q: Why CAFNR/your chosen major?
 I wanted to be a plant science student because it combines the most important things in my life: my community and agriculture. Studying plant science has allowed me to gain an understanding and appreciation for the world around me and has only further encouraged me to increase sustainable practices and guarantee food security for our growing population.

Q: What were/are some challenges you faced as a first-generation student?
I have found one of the biggest challenges thus far was getting into research; speaking from my experience as both a transfer student and first-gen student, I found it difficult in the beginning to make connections with labs that were looking for undergrad workers, many of which my peers already had connections with through clubs or courses.

Q: Who has helped you overcome those challenges?
There have been so many people in my life who have helped me get to where I am today. Dr. Felix Fritschi gave me my first research position, which instilled in me the skills and confidence I needed to make it through my two years at Mizzou. My family has also helped me overcome these challenges by cheering me on and never doubting my ability. There are also all of the amazing ladies who work at the Women’s Center who have always provided me with a place to rest, plenty of snacks and a space where I can be myself.

Q: What’s your favorite part of attending Mizzou?
 My favorite part of attending Mizzou has been all of the new people I have met!

Q: What advice would you give other first-generation college students?
 My most remarkable advice to other first-generation college students is to go for it! Coming from a rural, low socioeconomic background, I never thought continuing my education after high school would be possible. I was worried about the cost of attendance and knew I wouldn’t be able to put the financial burden of getting loans onto my family, but through hard work, I was able to get scholarships that have covered the entirety of my tuition all four years. I can also remember being scared because I had no one to turn to to ask questions about the application process, filing FAFSA, and a plethora of other questions, but don’t give up, and don’t let your fears stop you from doing something you want to do!

Q: How will your college experience impact your future?
I will leave this university feeling knowledgeable and confident enough to apply the lessons I have learned to real-world experiences and hope I am given the opportunity to do so through the University’s Plant, Insect, and Microbial Science graduate program.