Student Spotlight: Alyssa Gibbas
Alyssa Gibbas originally chose College of DuPage for financial reasons.
“I am the oldest of five children and I cannot afford to pay for college myself. My parents are willing to help me out, but I refuse to take out loans for my undergraduate degree, as I want to pursue a master’s and doctoral degree,” she said. “My options were somewhat limited in this respect, so I chose to go to COD. I never intended to go to community college, it just sort of happened. However, in retrospect, it was the best decision I could have made.”
In fact, the experience went well beyond what she expected. She was recruited to be a Student Ambassador, participated in the Living Leadership Program, became president of Psi Beta, and worked as a student worker in the Student Life office.
In 2015, Gibbas was named an Outstanding Graduate finalist. After earning her Associate in Arts degree, she transferred to Aurora University, where she is on the Dean’s list. She is studying English, music and literature, subjects she has been drawn to since the fourth grade.
“I believe you must have a passion for what you do, and it was inevitable that I would pursue an English degree because it’s something that I love and something that I am good at,” she said. “My interest in counseling came after my senior year of high school, when I had my first psychology course, and I think it pairs nicely with literature. Because I am also drawn to music, I added a music major on top of my English degree.
“The goals that I have set for myself have remained fairly constant throughout my years of school. When I was in second grade, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher, although now I have gravitated toward the idea of professorship, and shortly thereafter, I knew that I would follow my dream of studying literature and – quite possibly – writing literature.”
Gibbas is keeping herself busy. She took a semester off for an internship at Disney World and participated in the PCSDL national forensics championship, placing second in Editorial Impromptu and third in the Research Paper categories. She also continues her volunteer work through the LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) program at AU.
Gibbas considers College of DuPage a great starting point, not only for achieving academic goals but also for networking and forming new relationships.
“Most notably, I was impacted by my decision to join the Living Leadership Program, which taught me to pursue my goals with gusto and perseverance,” she said. “I never intended to be a leader. For my entire life, I’ve been a relatively shy and ‘on the bench’ kind of person. Coming to College of DuPage completely threw me out of my comfort zone, which made me more vulnerable than ever. But I took this opportunity to open myself to new experiences. Leadership chose me.
“For students who are considering coming to College of DuPage, I have two words: Do it. There is a stigma against community colleges that simply should not exist. COD has resources that you never could dream of – resources that most four year schools do not have. It’s a great way to start, especially if you didn’t do so well in high school. COD was a life-changing experience that I would not have traded for the world.”
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