Transfer Student Finds Niche at Southeast
As a second-generation Southeast Missouri State University student, Rachel Padgett is making the most of her college experience. A native of Belleville, Ill., and a transfer from the University of Missouri, Rachel is pursuing a degree in secondary education with a major in social studies education. As an active student at Southeast, Rachel is a member of the Student Government, Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Alpha Theta and Rho Lambda.
After completing her senior year of high school at Belleville Althoff High School, Rachel thought the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou), was the best place to continue her education. After only a few weeks of attending Mizzou, she quickly realized it was too big and impersonal for her.
“None of my professors knew my name because the classes were so large, and I never felt like I could raise my hand and ask a question during class. I also tried to get involved outside of the classroom, but couldn’t find my niche there either,” Rachel explained. Following a couple of visits to see friends on the campus of Southeast, Rachel decided it was best for her to transfer from Mizzou to Southeast after only one semester.
Rachel knew she had made the correct decision to transfer universities when she met her UI-100 teacher, Theresa Haug-Belvin, on the first day attending class at Southeast.
“She seemed excited that I had made the switch and has been extremely helpful ever since,” Rachel said of her teacher. Rachel was able to get involved right away, and found many places she knew she could fit in. She has not only fit in at Southeast, but has excelled at leadership roles on campus as well.
“Because of the size of Southeast, I have had so many opportunities for leadership. Whether it is in the classroom or in an organization, I have gained much experience that I will take with me when I leave,” Rachel said. Recently, Rachel became the new vice president of the Student Government. As vice president, Rachel will be serving as the president of the Senate. She will be in charge of the Senate orientation, special elections and running of the Senate meetings.
When not involved with the Student Government, Rachel takes full advantage of being part of the Greek community and is president of Gamma Phi Beta.
“My sorority has probably most impacted my experience at Southeast, because it has allowed me to live in a dorm with 45 other girls that I have grown to love and depend on. There is always something to do and somewhere to go,” she said. Rachel says her most memorable experiences are a result of spending time with her sorority sisters.
Rachel is not only busy while on campus, but off campus as well. She volunteers at a local elementary school in Cape Girardeau for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She also loves the outdoors. Rachel has run in multiple 5K races, and just recently completed her first half-marathon in April. Her grandparents have a house at the Lake of the Ozarks where she enjoys water skiing, swimming and spending time with friends and family. Her favorite thing to do in Cape is trying new restaurants.
“The cannelloni at Bella Italia has been my favorite so far! There is so much of it that you get to take half of it home in a box and enjoy it later!” she said.
Rachel is a perfect example of a student taking full advantage of what the Southeast Missouri State University campus and surrounding community have to offer. Rachel's advice for future Southeast students is to get involved!
“Southeast has so many different organizations to be apart of for all walks of life. Most of what students learn in college is learned outside of the classroom. I feel like I am leaving my mark by being part of organizations that do so much for Southeast.”