WHAT’S YOUR STORY?: Fizer seeks more than to ‘come and go’

Zach Mills

Terry Fizer is just a few weeks away from finishing up his Masters’ degree in student affairs. That’s quite an accomplishment for the 26-year-old from Fort Knox.

He’s the first person in his immediate and extended family to go to college.

Fizer’s father joined the military right out of high school and married not long after enlisting.

“My dad only had plans to stay in for two or three years to start a family,” Fizer’s said. “He started reenlisting and reenlisting because he saw the benefits.”

Both of Fizer’s parents come from poor families living in small Ohio towns. Fizer said that back then, in those small towns, college wasn’t exactly a top priority.

“They didn’t have a push to go to college because, where they come from, it’s, ‘You’re born there, you live there and you die there,'” he said.

Although Fizer’s parents never made it to college, they have always encouraged him to succeed where they hadn’t.

“As far back as I can remember, they always told me I was going to college,” Fizer said. “It’s kind of that old line, ‘We want you to do better than we did.'”

And in just 19 days, Fizer will have done better than his parents did – as far as higher education is concerned. After his graduation, Fizer is seeking a residence hall director position at a college or university. He’s hoping to land a job at Southwest Missouri State.

Last March, Fizer interviewed with 14 different schools at a conference in Memphis. Through that conference, Fizer got two on-campus interviews with two schools. One of them was Southwest Missouri State.

Fizer will find out this week whether or not he’ll be working in Missouri next semester. But even if he doesn’t get that job, he’ll still have his Masters’, which is something he hopes will help open more doors for him.

“It’s supposed to be a piece of paper that opens up more opportunity,” he said. “We’ll see if that happens in the next couple of days.”

Fizer said his longing to be a residence hall director comes from his military brat upbringing.

“It all comes back to being a people pleaser,” he said. “I had to cherish being around the people for the two years that I was living in a place because I knew that I’d be leaving.”

Fizer was born in Fort Knox, and he graduated from high school there as well. While he was growing up, his family lived in Germany, Ohio and Fort Campbell.

Fizer’s self-driven ambition of working hard to make a difference in the lives of others comes from words his father taught him, words he has kept with him most of his life.

“When you lay your head on your pillow and know that you’ve done everything you could do, then that’s a good day’s worth of work,” Fizer said.

Fizer wants to do his best at all times. He hopes to use the experience he has gained as a graduate student and throughout his life to help himself, as well as those around him.

“I want to contribute what knowledge I have to give,” he said. “I want to know that, when all is said and done, when I’m on my deathbed, I want to know I’ve done everything I wanted to do, needed to do and had to do. I don’t want a meager existence. I don’t want to just come and go.”

Each week, Zach picks a random person from the student directory and calls them to ask, “What’s Your Story?” His series runs every Tuesday. Zach can be reached at [email protected]