Degree: Spanish education
Hometown: Murray, Kentucky
High School and/or Previous Academic Institution: Murray High School
Mallory Wooldridge is a freshman and presidential fellow at Murray State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education. This is her story.
Activities and Organizations
Presidential fellow, Honors College ambassador, Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) sorority member and student worker in the dean’s office for the College of Education and Human Services
How do you define success?
I will consider my life a success if I have completed the following: I inspired my kids to be better than I was, I never regretted loving anything or anyone and I listened to every Billy Joel song at least 10 times.
Who has influenced you the most in your life and why?
I’m going to cheat and instead of just giving one person, I’m saying all my teachers collectively. I’m incredibly grateful for all of the brilliant and encouraging individuals who have taught me math and Spanish and literature — but, more importantly, who have taught me about myself and the world around me. My teachers have influenced me the most because they have fostered my love for learning and developed my core values of justice, liberty and equality. Every one of my teachers has molded a little piece of the present-day Mallory, and I am more grateful to be the aggregate of these beautiful minds than my teachers will ever realize.
What first sparked your interest in your chosen field?
Some kids wanted to grow up to be Neil Armstrong or Hannah Montana, but I wanted to grow up to be just like my teachers. It was their support coupled with my curiosity that has led me to the education field.
Why did you select Murray State?
I am incredibly grateful to have received the Presidential Fellowship. It is one of the key reasons I decided to attend Murray State. In addition to the scholarship were the Honors College perks, such as small classes and discussion-based seminars as well as a small enough campus where I felt I could know my classmates and professors. On my list of “non-negotiables” was feeling at home. And at home I have truly felt this semester among my many friends and incredible professors.
Who is one of your favorite professors and why?
I have only been at Murray State for a semester, but it is already clear to me how fantastic a professor Dr. [Tanya] Romero-González is. I was an anxious mess coming into her Spanish 301 class on the first day because I wasn’t confident that I could keep up with the rest of the students. She, however, has been an amazing supporter as I tread through not only upper-level Spanish courses but college life in general. I will be heading to Mexico soon to study abroad because of her encouragement to apply for the program. I am thankful for her kindness, her knowledge and her beautiful Spanish accent I hope to one day replicate.
What is one of your favorite Murray State traditions/experiences?
Racer One! I love the atmosphere at football games. The sea of blue and gold, screams of “SHOES UP!” and the Racer Band combined are electric. Football games make me feel like I’m a part of something greater than myself: I’m part of the Racer Nation that includes all those who have come before me and all those who will come after me. Racer One is representative of who we are as a university: strong, determined and proud.
What is something you’ve accomplished at Murray State that you’re most proud of and why are you proud of it?
Perhaps not as notable to some as it is to me is the independence I’ve gained while at Murray State. My independence is not an award or a position, but it is incredibly important to me because I have proven to be much stronger than I previously thought. Being on campus has shown me how to do adult things (like working and then spending that money on milk) and make adult decisions, and I have surprised myself with my ability to handle the beginnings of adulthood. I am proud of the balance I have created, and I hope I can maintain that balance as more responsibilities are added to my plate.
What opportunities have you been afforded at Murray State?
Murray State has brought me my ADPi sisters, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the support they offer me. I also will have the amazing opportunity to complete undergraduate research in the coming semesters. Additionally, I have already studied abroad once and am currently planning at least two more trips abroad. These experiences would not have been possible if I hadn’t become a Racer. I have been able to experience new things, find a sense of community and meet many lifelong friends. I also feel that I have been very blessed to meet and build relationships with my fellow classmates. Building strong relationships will benefit me in my future career.
What do you think sets Murray State apart from other universities?
My answer is perhaps cliche, but I will say it because it is true: the people make Murray State unique. We are a community bound together by the pursuit of knowledge and horseshoes, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Please be okay with living in the uncertainty. Realize that your adult status is not dependent on your ability to produce answers about yourself, about your dreams or about life itself. You will change your major six times and will often wonder if you are actually going insane. You won’t know who you want to be, you will find that you have changed since you graduated high school and you will often wonder what your place is in the world. And that’s okay. Don’t fight to preserve the past and don’t force the future. Let yourself live and chase the things that set you on fire. The answers will follow.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
Since May 2022 feels many lifetimes away, I currently only have a vague idea of what may be awaiting me at the end of four years. I would be thrilled to become a high school Spanish teacher, but I would also be equally as thrilled to be teaching English in Spain or history in Japan or climbing mountains in Switzerland. The point is I don’t know where I’m going to be in four years, but I am okay with that. Wherever I am, I’m sure it will be an adventure.