College of DuPage Outstanding Graduates Alexis Reisch of Bolingbrook and Meghan Thome of Naperville encouraged their fellow graduates to find their motivation and never give up during the College's 46th annual Commencement.
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Reisch earned an Associate in Science degree and is transferring to the University of Illinois-Chicago. When she arrived at College of DuPage two years ago, she was trying to say and do what other people expected of her. But after self-examination and reflection, Reisch found her own voice and began making decisions with more confidence.
"I want to encourage you to evaluate your own reasons for doing things," she said. "As we leave here today and move on to all kinds of crazy, new things, my hope for each of us is that we connect with our inner motivation so that we can lead lives filled with long-term happiness."
Thome is a former educator who returned to school and earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design. She said the discomfort in trying something new is worthwhile for an opportunity that could change your life.
"Stop thinking about restrictions and what may happen if you go for what you really want. Most of the time, your worries are just that -- worries," she said. "The more you channel your energy into your passion, the more the thought of failure is replaced with the thought of all the possibilities before you."
Erin Birt, chairman of the College's Board of Trustees, told the graduates they should be proud of their accomplishments.
"You will hear many times that today is a culmination of much hard work, and this is correct," she said. "Your hard-earned degree is a beginning to your commitment to lifelong learning. We look forward to hearing about your success in future years."
Among the state's public colleges and universities, College of DuPage, with more than 28,000 students, is the second largest provider of undergraduate education in the State of Illinois, after the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For more information, visit www.cod.edu