Level up

Kathryn Butler wanted a bigger, bolder and broader experience. That’s why she chose Mizzou.

Sept. 21, 2022

A senior health sciences major from Bethalto, Illinois, Kathryn Butler has always dreamed big. She found numerous ways to get involved at the University of Missouri including joining a sorority, the campus tour team and a local service that helps people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. To help her achieve her goals, Butler has relied on Mizzou’s student success resources and inspirational mentors to help guide her along her academic journey.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I went to a tiny high school with a graduating class of 50, so I wanted something bigger. I narrowed my options to colleges within a three-hour radius — including SEC and Big Ten schools. My list consisted of schools in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. I first toured Mizzou during a family vacation my junior year of high school, and though I really liked the campus, I wasn’t in “college-choice mode” yet. Then, senior year, I toured MU again. From then on, every campus I visited I found myself comparing it to Mizzou (My younger brother, Nathan, tagged along for all of my college tours and pointed out this fact.). I absolutely fell in love with Mizzou and committed that year.

What stood out about Mizzou?

The Quad, the landscape, being able to walk across campus in 15 minutes … And once I was here, I quickly discovered the best thing about Mizzou is the academic resources and the Student Success Center. My freshman and sophomore year I probably met with tutors three times a week. It’s important to reach out for help as soon as possible. I’ve learned there is nothing wrong and no shame in asking for help.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned here?

I’ve lived through the pandemic and challenging classes during my first two years, and Mizzou has taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was. Now I know I can conquer anything that comes my way. I’ve learned I can be a leader even when I get pushed out of my comfort zone — I’m on the Tiger Tour Team, I teach cycling classes at MizzouRec, I’m a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and I volunteer with Best Buddies, an organization that pairs those in the Columbia area who have intellectual or developmental disabilities with Mizzou students in the hopes of forming meaningful friendships.

How have Mizzou’s people — students, staff and faculty — helped you along the way?

While I’ve learned I can accomplish a lot, I’ve also become aware that it is possible to take on too much. What has really surprised me the most is that while Mizzou is a big SEC school, there is so much that makes it feel like a community. During my freshman year when the pandemic hit, one of my professors reached out to check on us individually and see how we were doing. She really cared about our mental health and helped us process what was going on. Professor Greg Cox, who teaches health sciences and physical therapy, is so passionate about the subject and has given me names and locations where I can job shadow physical therapists —  plus he gives us real-world examples about what graduate schools prefer in candidates. In addition to caring about you, everyone also wants to see you succeed. I’m planning to work with the Writing Center and the Career Center to work on my physical therapy school applications.
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