Student Spotlight: Sessily Hernandez Gianakos

Student Spotlight: Sessily Hernandez

Sessily Hernandez Gianakos
Major: Associate in Arts

Sessily Hernandez Gianakos always knew her purpose in life was to serve others.

Understanding the connection between behavior, personality and physical health, she evaluated her own experiences to determine how best to improve her life. Planning to pursue both psychology and physical therapy seemed a natural path to take.

“Not being a fit person my entire life, I realized that when I started to retrain my thoughts and feelings to become more positive, I could also retrain my body to become healthier,” she said. “My hope is to link physical therapy and psychology together so I can help others heal themselves. Life is all about balance. Once people begin to equally focus on all aspects of their physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual characteristics, then they can become their best selves. When this happens, we can fully help this world and those around us.”

Having endured some personal and family hardships, Gianakos was ready to return to school. When she and her now-husband needed to move after rescuing a pit bull that became a cherished pet, because the apartment they lived in wouldn’t allow the dog, they found a place in Glen Ellyn and discovered College of DuPage.

“COD is in a much better neighborhood than we had ever experienced before, the tuition was doable, and the commute was only 15 minutes,” she said. “I also believe in signs, and the day my fiancé and I were discussing whether to go back to school, we received our first official piece of mail. And wouldn’t you know it, it was from College of DuPage letting us know that the semester would begin soon and to sign up for classes. We looked at one another, laughed and both started attending COD that semester. He received his Associate in Arts in 2015 and now I’ve received mine.”

Gianakos loved the mix of academics and resources at College of DuPage, from the Library to Chaparral Fitness. She also enjoyed the many free seminars on such topics as cultural diversity and religious diversity.

“COD is a great place to learn about other cultures,” she said. “By understanding our differences, you can start to recognize our similarities, and when we focus on what makes us the same, we become one. When we become one, we all win.”

Named an Outstanding Graduate finalist at COD, Gianakos transferred to Governors State University, where she is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology. She then would like to stay at Governors State and pursue a doctorate in Physical Therapy. Ultimately she also would like to study traditional Chinese medicine.

“I plan on learning as much as I can about Eastern medicine in hopes of combining both Eastern and Western medicines to help my patients heal themselves,” she said. “My goal is to open my own practice, where people can work on healing their minds, bodies and spirits at the same time. I believe when science and faith are combined, miracles can become the norm.”

Her advice to other students is to dream big.

“Do not settle for average grades or average experiences, because then your life and accomplishments will be average. If we set limitations on ourselves, then we set limitations on our dreams,” she said.

“College of DuPage is a great way to start your education. By taking different classes, you can discover what it is you want to do. Figure out your life path here at an affordable price, and then you can transfer to a four-year university once you’ve decided. One of the best decisions I made was to go back to school. It is never too late to pursue an education.”

More about the Associate in Arts degree

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

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