Student Spotlight: Jessica Varble
After high school, Jessica Varble attended Western Illinois University for a semester but discovered that big, four-year schools are not for everyone.
So she transferred to College of DuPage and earned her associate’s degree. It made sense, as her mother has two nursing degrees from COD. In fact, Varble even took a class with her aunt, who was returning to school to pursue an associate’s degree.
“COD welcomes students of all ages, backgrounds and character,” she said. “I have never felt out of place. All of the faculty and counselors are very helpful at the school, and the location and cost of classes are really awesome. There are also a ton of extracurricular activities and clubs offered through the school.”
During this time, Varble found a job that would later influence her career.
“There used to be a board by the cafeteria that had jobs posted for students. Through a posting, I obtained a part-time position as a file clerk at a law firm in Wheaton and Chicago,” she said. “I had always been interested in the law since I was in high school. When a legal secretary position opened in the firm’s Chicago office, the partner of the Chicago office offered me the job. I started full-time downtown in December 2006. When the law firm dissolved, I traveled with my attorney to a new law firm.
“I worked for the same attorney for many years, but I got tired of commuting downtown every day. I really wanted to find a good job closer to home. I remembered that my mom told me that COD had a Paralegal program. I thought that it was both a great opportunity and challenge that could lead to a full-time position that was closer to home.”
Varble returned to College of DuPage and is now finishing her certificate in Paralegal Studies. The program is helping her fine-tune her skills as she expands her knowledge base, perfects her writing skills and learns research tools.
“You get a lot of opportunities to learn how to network and connect to a variety of people through the Paralegal Club,” she said. “I am lucky enough to be the secretary of our club, and I have learned so much about making connections and networking with people. It is not an easy thing to do for someone who is not used to it, but everyone in the club and program is supportive and friendly. We really do have the best students and teachers in the school! They care about our success, both in the program and after we graduate.”
Varble ultimately would like to find a position with a law firm that covers many areas of law and would allow her to work part-time in an office and part-time from home. Her advice to other Paralegal students is to get involved.
“Talk to everyone you can and learn from everyone and everything that you do throughout the program. It all applies to the kind of job you are looking to get when you complete the program,” she said. “I have found some of the most kind and hardworking students in my classes learning with me. Our teachers are really great role models who have so much knowledge and information to share. These are the people you want to surround yourself with.
“If I could afford it, I would go to school forever. I love learning. After I graduate, I plan to come back to College of DuPage and take more elective classes that are offered in the program.”
2014 College of DuPage