by Sukhmani Kaur
The University of Missouri, affectionately called Mizzou, distinguishes itself from other universities in many ways, whether it is because of its ardent love for football or because it is the founder of homecoming, an event now highly celebrated in schools all around the country. Mizzou is also known as the oldest school with the best journalism major, which is one of the main reasons former Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) student, Shelby Lofton, now attends the college as a freshman.
Lofton attends Mizzou as a major in broadcast journalism in hopes of pursuing a career as a television or radio news reporter in the future. However, Mizzou was not Lofton’s first choice for college as she initially wanted to attend a small liberal arts college. When applying to colleges, Lofton researched a plethora of schools that best fit her major and was surprised when she realized that Mizzou was the right choice.
“Through the process of college applications, it is important for students to stay open-minded because where you think you may be in November is not necessarily where you will end up in September of next year,” Lofton said.
After applying to 11 colleges, Lofton credits the College and Career Office for their help in making the process much easier. In addition, she conducted heavy research in order to find her dream college.
“I had this ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ moment where I knew Mizzou was the college for me as I was impressed with all it had to offer and could see myself walking on the campus,” Lofton said.
In addition, studying in a college away from home is not meant for everyone, but that was certainly not the case with Lofton. Wanting a new but diverse environment to live in led to Lofton moving from Granada Hills, California to Columbia, Missouri. She also felt that learning to adapt and interact in a different part of the country would be beneficial and helpful in better preparing her for her major.
“I had a smooth transition from California to Missouri. I always knew that I wanted to leave home to attend college because I am a very independent person. However, living away from home is not meant for everyone because it all depends on the individual’s understanding of themselves and their readiness to leave the nest,” Lofton said.
Along with living in another state, Lofton experienced a great amount of differences that contrast college from high school. For instance, college students do not attend classes 5 days a week for 8 hours as most classes take place once or twice a week and the timings are spread out.
“One of the greatest parts about college is that professors can cancel class on the whim and sometimes they surprise everyone by ending lectures early. Don’t think you won’t be doing homework for as long as you are in high school, though; that part, unfortunately, does not change,” Lofton said.
In addition, Lofton explains how the class sizes are bigger in college with some reaching about 500 students, which makes it essential not to miss a single day of class because it will result in falling behind really quickly
“Because of the great amount of students attending the college, students are expected to be independent and responsible for their own action because your mother or teachers will not be there to tell you what is right or wrong and what your responsibilities are,” Lofton said.
Along with taking new and interesting classes such as “Political Science” and Journalism course, Lofton also takes part in activities outside of school. She continues to do community service work, along with singing for the Women’s Chorale (her school choir), joining the “Sigma Sigma Sigma” sorority, and contributing to her school newspaper, “The Maneater.” In spite of all these activities, Lofton still effectively balances her education and extracurricular activities.
“Take a maximum of three extracurriculars: one for your passion, one for your major, and one for philanthropy. When you’re burdened with too many activities, it’s easy to forget the true purpose of college,” Lofton said.
As she reflects on her time at GHCHS, Lofton gives some valuable advice for students who will soon apply for colleges. She emphasizes the importance of keeping the process of college applications private so that individuals do not add unnecessary stress when comparing themselves to other students. Also, she emphasizes the need for students to broaden their choices by not only applying to Ivy League colleges, but also by giving private and public institutions a chance.
“When doing college applications, write down your positive qualities to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished. Also, it’s important to remind yourself that a lot of people have been in your shoes and have succeeded so you can do it too, even though it seems almost impossible now,” Lofton said.