"After all my challenges in high school, I was so motivated to move forward with my education."
"I was born in Romania and came to Chicago when I was 10 years old. My family has always lived in the Portage Park neighborhood. I had good grades and really enjoyed learning in elementary school. Then I started high school at Lane Tech in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). During my freshman year, I got diagnosed with some pretty serious health problems. I stopped going to school and took a year off to work on my health and get ready to go back to school. Then I went to Luther North, a private Christian high school that was near my house. But because of my health problems, my family couldn't afford to keep sending me there. I was homeschooled for a year and when I got better, I finished high school at Taft in CPS.
"After all my challenges in high school, I was so motivated to move forward with my education. I felt like a total failure even though it wasn't my fault that I had health problems. But I was driven to succeed and press past my setbacks. And that's when I knew that I was determined to go to college. My sophomore year in high school, I knew I wanted to stay in Chicago because my family and community are here. And I knew I wanted to study business and that Chicago was a good place to study business. So I visited all the universities in Chicago multiple times. On Saturday mornings, many schools offered campus tours and hosted breakfast programs, so I would visit a few colleges each month. I visited DePaul and fell in love in with the campus. So in my sophomore year in high school I knew I was going to DePaul for sure."
"I had to figure out a plan."
"My transition to college was pretty rough. For the most part, I didn't take any honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaurate courses at Taft. Because of this, the course material in the classes at DePaul was really hard for me. Most of my high school friends in regular classes didn't even go to college, or if so, they went to a community college. I didn't have any friends in college and I didn't have anyone to talk to about my experience. Most people on campus were different from me and I didn't have anyone to relate to. Math in particular was really hard for me; I had to take calculus and statistics but I had to drop my calculus during the first quarter of my freshman year after I failed the midterm. I always enjoyed math throughout elementary and high school but the level it was taught at was shocking to me.
"I realized that I needed to adjust to the high level of academics. I had to figure out a plan. Then I earned the Sid Feldman Legacy Scholarship and I had two mentors who were DePaul alums who really helped me. I had an on-campus job in the marketing department and the people there became a support network for me. Those students were commuters, too, and the job was one thing that was stable for me as I was wrapping up and adjusting during my freshman year."
"Knowing the SSS staff are always there helps so much."
"I joined Student Support Services (SSS) the fall quarter of my junior year. Speaking with Rachel and meeting with her is really comforting. I want to study abroad in Germany and the European Union and I've been having a lot of setbacks with that, but she finds me resources that I had no idea that even existed. When I had health problems, she provided resources that I could go to as well. Also with math, I was able to get some tutoring help in stats. I usually am good about asking for help, but I had no idea that I could get help with math and statistics through a tutor. So the SSS program is awesome with providing that academic support, too. It's awesome to have someone to be there rooting for you and in your corner. Knowing the SSS staff are always there helps so much.
"Through it all, I think I'm most proud of being able to adjust to college work and maintain a 3.95 GPA. When I first started at DePaul, I was so scared and afraid that I would have a hard time that I couldn't even imagine that I could do this well. I'm proud of being able to have a GPA this high even with all my struggles freshman year.
"After DePaul, I would like to work in internal auditing for a multinational corporation and travel the world."