Missouri State University - West Plains
Olivia Langbehn

Olivia Langbehn

  • Student
  • West Plains, MO
  • AA-General Studies
  • Hometown: Springfield, Illinois
  • Currently Resides: West Plains, MO

Oliva Langbehn

“Your abilities my be different but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.”

“It felt like home. This was an easy transition from high school for me.”

Olivia chose MSU-WP because it was close to her parents, the class sizes were just right, and the transition from Gainesville High School to college was smooth. Olivia found that at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP), people were willing to work with her to succeed.

Olivia credits Professor of Communication Dr. Gary Phillips for her success. “[He] motivated me to keep going,” she explained. She also praises the writing coaches at Arch W. Shaw Writing Center for helping her become a better writer by helping her stay on track.

When Olivia was inducted into the National Honor Society, she realized she could reach her goals. “My abilities were affirmed. I knew I made the right decision to go to college.”

“I realized that to grow, I needed to be my own person.”

Olivia said when Olivia first enrolled at MSU-WP, she was shy. “I used to try to conform to social norms to try to fit in. But then I realized that to grow, I needed to be my own person. Now I’m more outspoken and don’t allow others to walk all over me.” Olivia hopes to inspire others to speak out against peer pressure.

“I knew I wanted to work with kids.”

Olivia said MSU-WP gave her the steppingstones for success by helping her pursue her life-long dream of working with children. From 12 years of experience as a babysitter and a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, “I knew I wanted to work with kids. My degree will help me expand young minds. I’m going to be one of the first people [in a professional setting] children see.”

By working with children, she will be able to help broaden their understanding of the world around them. “I’ve always enjoyed watching a child’s face light up when they learn something new. I love seeing their curiosity grow, and I want to see them succeed.

“Your abilities may be different but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.”

Olivia was born with cerebral palsy. She uses a motorized wheelchair to navigate the world around her. Whenever she’s around children, they see her for who she is as a person, not just someone with a disability. “Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t reach for the stars.”

She wants to inspire children to dream big, no matter what their circumstances might be. She wants them to see “it’s okay to be different and do things differently.”

“Go for it! The outcome may surprise you.”

Olivia’s advice for prospective students is to take that leap of faith. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier and it’s worth it.