Anlis Mercado

After graduating, Anlis Mercado wants to work as a guidance counselor for adolescents. Walking around campus, watching Netflix, or reading a good book are ways she unwinds after hours of classes and studying.

Anlis Mercado discovers a home away from home at Iowa State

Anlis left her home in Puerto Rico to attend school in Ames, Iowa. She chose Iowa State for the child, adult, and family services major, and wants to have a career working with adolescents.

“I want to help people and give them the proper tools to get over whatever it is they’re going through,” she said.

Attending school so far away from home was an adjustment, especially the cold winters. Anlis said she misses having summertime year round and having a beach close to her house.

“I wish I would have been more prepared for the cold and snow,” she said. “My mom went to school at Boston College, so she warned me to wear layers; I thought it was cold in the 30s, but it just kept getting colder.”

To get acclimated to Iowa State, Anlis attended the Academic Program for Excellence (APEX) during the summer before her first semester, and got involved with the Connect Four learning community. These student groups have become Anlis’s support system while away from home.

Though Anlis misses her hometown, she knows the memories she’s making in Iowa are just as special as her memories in Puerto Rico.

“I miss it, but I’m also getting to experience other things here,” she said.

For students who are traveling far away to attend school at Iowa State, Anlis encourages them to be brave and not let their fear intimidate them.

“It can be nerve-wracking to leave home,” she said. “You’re going to have to make decisions yourself. Trust and believe in yourself--It’s going to be okay.”