Author: Allyson Moore
Imagine moving to another country for love, but instead of falling in love with a man, you fall in love with the country and getting an education.
This is what happened to Anne Davies, a non-traditional student at Missouri Western State University.
Born in 1953 near Andover, South England, Davies’ love for learning started at a young age.
“I read anything I could get my sticky little fingers on,” Davies said. “I was left to my own devices – and that’s where I discovered books.”
Davies got O-levels at sixteen, but didn’t go on to university until a few years later when she went to a community college and got A-levels in English, art and history.
Before she came to America, she had two boys and a girl with her husband at the time. They eventually divorced, and soon she met another man who would take her and her kids to America in 1989.
“That didn’t work out very well, but I stayed and made a life here,”she said. “The opportunities here are unbelievable compared to what we would have [had in the UK]. All of my children have degrees. Two of them have Masters degrees. One is a double major. They never would have done that [in the UK]. If you’re prepared to work for it, the opportunity is there, and I think that still applies. It does not apply that way in England.”
Davies was asked if she would ever consider going back to England, but she said she has no plans to move back.
“I’d go back and visit. Would I want to live there again? No, it would drive me crazy,” Davies said.
Although going back to England would drive her crazy, there are moments here in America that drive her crazy too. She recalls a party she went to years ago where one party-goer had gotten drunk and was patronizing her about her citizenship (which she received in 1994).
“He stuck his finger in my face and said, ‘I don’t think you’re a citizen! I want to see your certificate!’ He was going on and on like that, and he was getting louder. Finally, he said, ‘We kicked your butt at the Boston Tea Party!’ That was his killer comment. His finishing line. And, I said, ‘Yes, and the Americans haven’t made a decent bloody cup of tea since,’” Davies said.
When it came to going back to school, she spoke fondly about getting her education, claiming that Missouri Western is a good place to go to.
“I’ve always liked Missouri Western. It was years and years ago. I’d always regretted not going back to school all those years ago, so I thought I would try a class just to see what it would be like. I took a philosophy class for fun. I got an A, and absolutely fell in love with the whole process,” Davies said.
Though she was eager to get back to school and knew she wanted to go to Missouri Western, the stars were not all aligned.
“Missouri Western did not offer the degree I wanted, so I was signed up at Northwest and got my degree there. It was a bachelor’s of science degree in child and family studies with a minor in psychology. As it happens, toward the end of that, my then-husband got very sick. I was working in Maryville, and it was too hard to work and go to school, so I needed to be home more. So, I got an arrangement made between the two universities where I finished up my classes at Missouri Western again and did some psychology classes. My final science class was at Missouri Western. That helped me graduate,” Davies said.
This is Davies’ third time at Missouri Western. This time, she is majoring in general studies with two minors in French and creative writing and is looking forward to relaxing after graduating.
“I want to curl up in my recliner with a big pile of books, some knitting, and sit back and think, ‘I’ve got a degree,’” she said.
Though Davies is retired now, she tends to keep herself very busy. She tutors a writer’s workshop for English 100 students, works at the front desk in Eder Hall and is the community outreach coordinator for Reach, the campus’s literary journal.