Kayla Burrell

Recent Graduate, Published Author

By Kelsie Schrader

Like most college students, Kayla Burrell, a May 2017 graduate of Mizzou, spent a lot of time reading books for class. Unlike most college students, Burrell also wrote a book.

Burrell walked across the commencement stage as an author after writing a book about the college experience. She is hoping to get her book in the hands of students who might not understand the value of college. Burrell’s book, The College Experience: A Message to the Millennials, is now available on Amazon.

A health sciences major from North County St. Louis, Burrell has been a writer most of her life. In high school, she worked on the school’s newspaper, and she has held a passion for writing poetry since she was young.

During her junior year—after deciding not to pursue law school, which was her original intentions after completing her undergraduate degree—she knew she needed a new plan.

“I thought about it for a while,” she says. “Finally, I came up with the idea to write about the college experience for people like my little brother, who is headed to college and doesn’t really know what to expect.”

With encouragement and help from her mentor and current Mizzou Law professor Rafael Gely, she began putting together the contents of her book and figuring out how to publish it. Broken up into 22 chapters, the book covers topics such as networking, changing majors, residence hall living, romance, religion and more.

“I include a lot of advice and guidance on how to get through the everyday struggles of being a college student,” Burrell says. Each chapter gives insight on a particular topic followed by a poem based on Burrell’s personal experience.

Burrell wrote the book with her family and hometown in mind. Her brother will be starting college in the fall and has been asking questions about what to expect. She also wanted to encourage people in her hometown to attend college.

“I think there are a lot of brilliant young people in my hometown who have no idea that going to college can open up so many doors for them to find success in a number of areas in life,” she says.

In her book, she hopes to open prospective students’ eyes to the opportunities and soft skills—such as networking, time managements, budgeting and more—that college can provide.

Burrell’s goal is to start working with St. Louis school districts to get her book into the hands of students to encourage them to consider a college career. She currently has an offer from Hawthorne Leadership School for Girls in St. Louis to include her book into their college preparatory program.

“Mizzou helped me realize that anything is possible and there is really no limit to what you can achieve when you believe in your own path to success,” Burrell says. “I’m hoping my book can encourage people who look like me to find happiness and success.”