Student Spotlight: Kimmy Hughes

Kimmy Hughes

Kimmy Hughes
Associate in Arts

Kimmy Hughes was hesitant about coming to College of DuPage.

“I didn’t know much about it, but I knew all my friends were going to ‘real’ colleges,” she said. “The main voice in my head that convinced me into going to COD was my dad’s, telling me that it’s better to save money so that I won't have to take out loans. After visiting COD for a field trip, I became increasingly excited to attend COD, and it became less about the money. I knew I would get a very good education and still be able to go away to college later, so I wasn’t missing out.”

Hughes was a Presidential Scholar, which includes a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD’s Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. It’s an honor that gave her an extra push to work her hardest in both her studies and helping others in need.

“If you are given a fantastic opportunity such as this, you are responsible for taking advantage of each and every bit of it,” she said.

She also believes in the small, random acts of kindness that can have a big impact on a person’s life, such as the one she received while standing in line at Panda Express.

“There I was, standing alone in line, when an older couple walked up behind me. I wasn’t in a rush, so I insisted they go ahead. They thanked me graciously and began to order,” she said. “The man’s wife was ahead, picking out which drink she wanted. Taking advantage of this, the man turned to me and told me that the lady ahead of us was his wife, and that they had been married for 40 or so years. ‘I fall in love with her for the first time every morning,’ he mentioned. I congratulated him, genuinely happy to be reminded how long love can last. He continued to tell me about their marriage and how they met, then thanked me for listening when he got to the cash register. He then added my order onto his, not giving me a chance to object to him paying for it. I was dumbfounded. I thanked him as he tipped his hat and walked off with his wife, not realizing just how much he had changed my life.

“I strive to be one of those people, the ones who can show kindness to strangers. My reasoning behind that is simply that it's truly the little things in life that can have the greatest impact.”

Having started off in English, Hughes was interested in biology. She earned her Associate in Arts degree with honors and transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago but decided biology wasn’t for her. She is now a chemistry major and also enjoys UIC’s computer science community.

“I highly recommend COD students interested in computer science to transfer to UIC,” she said. “Everyone I’ve met in the Computer Science department have so many opportunities lined up. Two of my friends are now working for Google.”

Hughes is happy to have selected College of DuPage and sees it as an invaluable asset.

“COD helped me to achieve my academic goals because of the wide selection of classes and wonderful teachers,” she said. “Every teacher I had not only taught me what’s in the book, but they taught me about myself. My main personal goal was to be able to meet new people and be comfortable talking to anyone. The people in Phi Theta Kappa who I met were so kind and welcoming. In short, they restored my faith in humanity and made it easier for this introvert to love communicating with people again.

“I’d advise the students considering attending COD to start there. Even if you’re like me, and you always had the vision of going to a four-year college, just start your journey at COD. Think about what you could do with the $40,000 or more you would save. You could have a bigger wedding, buy a bigger car, travel the country...the possibilities are endless. If you don’t want to stay at home anymore, look at it this way: If you go to a four-year college now, you’re probably going to wind up back at home and in debt. If you stay home for one or two years and attend COD, you’re more likely to afford to live on your own or with whomever you chose after college. If you’re still in doubt, visit and talk to a counselor. They’re so helpful and they can answer any questions you have.”

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