Missouri State University

Alonzo Perez

First year student discovered his passion and found a piece of his culture on campus

"My parents were both born in Mexico, and I am fluent in Spanish, so it’s nice having a little piece of my culture here on campus.”

“I would like to be the ‘idea’ person…”

Things have already changed for Alonzo Perez during his first year at Missouri State. The Monett, Mo., native started college with an undeclared major, but within one year, he found his passion for Advertising and Marketing.

“I started as an undeclared major but have always been interested in how companies sell their products through advertising. I would like to be the ‘idea’ person who comes up with the concepts for print ads on billboards and in magazines,” said Alonzo. “I have always liked photography, and I would like to blend my photography background with marketing to make my work artistic while making a product appealing.”

“It’s a big network of friends.”

Finding a major isn’t the only smooth transition Alonzo has experienced while at Missouri State; he describes his overall transition to living independently as easy. “The transition has been pretty easy because I’m really close to home,” he said. “I roomed with a guy I know from high school, too, so that was a lot easier, just knowing and trusting someone.”

He also credits the friends he’s made at college as a big part of his great transition. “My friends on campus—that’s what makes everything easier,” he said. “It’s a big network of friends. Most of the friends I have now either live on my floor or I met them through friends that I knew from back home.”

“My friends on campus—that’s what makes everything easier. It's a big network of friends."

Alonzo and his friends enjoy going to the free movies in the PSU and catching up-and-coming musical artists at concerts sponsored by Student Activities Council.

“It’s a lot.”

Although he quickly adjusted to life on campus, Alonzo admits that he was surprised by the difference between his high school and college classes.

“My first semester I took a religion and a history class, which required a lot of reading. I realized that if I didn’t read, I wouldn’t pass the tests,” he said. “In high school, if you didn’t read, you would still pass the test. I think that’s what has surprised me the most—the amount of time you have to put into your studies. It’s a lot.”

Despite the extra studying, Alonzo describes his professors as caring about his success as a student: “They don’t want you to fail. They may offer extra credit for extra work or things like that, if you make the effort.”

“It’s nice having a little piece of my culture here on campus.”

When Alonzo isn’t hanging out with his friends or studying, he’s reaching out to area high school students as a member of the Leading in Education to Approach Latinos (LEAL) group.

“LEAL members talk with Hispanic kids from around Springfield and surrounding communities to show them why they should come to Missouri State. We take them on tours of campus, talk about financial aid, help with conferences and things like that,” he said. “My parents were both born in Mexico, and I am fluent in Spanish, so it’s nice having a little piece of my culture here on campus.”

“Be prepared to meet new people.”

After his first year at Missouri State University, marketing major Alonzo Perez has some advice for new students: “Be prepared to meet new people. Everyone meets new people, but it takes a while to just find your true friends.”

Alonzo has done just that – he’s found true friends. In fact, hanging out with friends at the free movie nights in the PSU and late-night dining at the Blair-Shannon Dining Center tops his list of favorite things to do on campus.