Alumni Spotlight: A Grad's Message of Gratitude
Dear Arrupe College community,
I grew up in a mixed-income housing development on the Near North side of Chicago, and I have a learning disability. My learning disability sometimes makes it difficult for me to keep up in class and manage a complex schedule. As it turns out, my disability is not uncommon, but for me and others like me, it means that college can seem like a forbidding experience. Despite this, I graduated from Arrupe College in 2018 and moved on to the School of Communication Studies at Loyola University Chicago, where I am currently in the final semester of my senior year.
When I was a high school senior, my goal was simple: to get a college education. It was more of a hope than a goal, as it didn’t seem likely. My learning disability seemed like it would be a barrier, plus my test scores and GPA were not great. My college counselors suggested the City Colleges of Chicago as my best chance, but I had my doubts. So, I started applying to colleges and then my parents heard about Arrupe; it sounded too good to be true. My counselors had not heard of it but I insisted on adding Arrupe to my list and was thrilled when I was accepted.
Arrupe provided three things that made a huge difference: (1) a structured environment that included best-in-class professors who cared deeply about my success and gave me individual attention; (2) small class sizes that allowed me to feel comfortable in the classroom; and (3) access to tutors and academic coaches that were readily available and eager to help students.
When I struggled in my second semester of my first year, I wondered if I would make it. However, when I met with my academic advisor she was understanding, helpful, and gave me the direction that I needed to get back on track. I got back on track and graduated with a 3.2 GPA and soon I will graduate from Loyola with a bachelor’s degree. One day, I hope to attend graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in education. I want to help more students like me as a college counselor.
My learning disability and other challenges that I have faced have made me more empathetic. Arrupe gave me a chance and provided an environment that helped me to succeed. The professors and staff all took an interest in each student, knew our names, and constantly checked in with us to see how we were doing. In fact, they continue to do so even now, almost two years after graduating from Arrupe. This has had an effect on me, and I want to pay it forward; I will continue to help others and to keep an eye out for students like me.
It is through the generosity of many that Arrupe College has had such a positive impact on my life. Of behalf of all Arrupe students – past, current, and future – I want to thank you for your generous support.
Arrupe College Class of 2018
Loyola University Chicago Class of 2020