Southern serves as a second home

Bethany+Ames%2C+an+undecided+freshman%2C+looks+over+MSSU+enrollment+information+on+Wednesday%2C+Sept%2C+3+at+University+Java.+I+chose+to+go+to+Southern+because+its+close+to+home+and+Im+familiar+with+the+campus+because+Ive+been+in+Upward+Bound+for+a+few+years%2C+Ames+said.

Photo illustration by Terri-Lynn Frasher

Bethany Ames, an undecided freshman, looks over MSSU enrollment information on Wednesday, Sept, 3 at University Java. “I chose to go to Southern because it’s close to home and I’m familiar with the campus because I’ve been in Upward Bound for a few years,” Ames said.

Miah Allison, staff writer

College is a milestone in a young adult’s life — getting to move to a town where parents aren’t able to watch their child like a hawk, growing into men and women and most importantly, growing up. But many students who choose to continue their education want to do so in a town that feels comfortable. For many students, Missouri Southern is a quaint campus that not only helps its students adapt to adult life, but also creates a welcoming vibe.

“MSSU feels like a home,” said Payton Fajen, Southern junior and Warsaw High School graduate. “… Southern is like a giant melting pot.”

In fall of 2013, Fajen transferred from the University of Missouri, the state’s largest college campus, to attend school at Southern. Though Fajen’s reason for moving to a smaller school differs from other students’ reasoning, one concept remains the backbone for the college decision process.

Charlie Brown, freshman and Joplin High School graduate, has played basketball since he was five. He knew then that basketball would always be a part of his future. Being offered basketball scholarships at five different schools made the decision process difficult for Brown.

“I chose Southern because I get the opportunity to stay home while also getting a good education,” said Brown. Brown’s offers included athletic scholarships to Drury University, Missouri State University, Coffeyville and Chipola University.

“I had to make a decision by April 16, with five schools to chose from, and only visiting three schools made it hard to choose,” said Brown. Over a short period, Brown nailed his college decision list down to two choices: Missouri Southern and Missouri State.

“I’d rather go to a Division II School and have a chance at winning a national championship than go to Division I School and not have as big of a chance,” he said. Although Springfield isn’t too far from Joplin, the support Brown gets here in Joplin is a commodity even free college can’t buy.

Evan Northup, sophomore and Carl Junction graduate, also made a choice between Southern and MSU.

“Going to a bigger school makes it difficult to get to know your professors,” said Northup. “I transferred to Southern to enjoy smaller class sizes while also getting a good education.”

Northup transferred from Missouri State to Southern in spring of 2014. Going to school close to home is a quality that other freshmen also appreciate.

“I wanted to go to a bigger school, but I grew up in Joplin,” said Selena Perez, freshman and Joplin High School graduate. “I wanted to go to school somewhere where I was comfortable with my environment.”

Perez is among many students who have chosen to attend school close to home. From the more sociable class sizes to the athletics and other programs, Southern teaches every student a familiar lesson: there’s no place like home.