Student Spotlight: Syeda Qadri
Syeda Qadri graduated from Willowbrook High School in the top 5 percent of her class.
During high school, she participated in many clubs and amassed more than 200 hours of volunteer service. Going to college was inevitable – until her family life started to fall apart.
“My dad was laid off from his company after 16 years,” she said. “He then was working mornings at gas stations and nights as a security man, and my parents started arguing a lot. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. He’s the man who always tells me, ‘Don’t worry. Don’t ever take life seriously if things don’t go your way. Always be calm because you will get better in life with patience, and you’ll realize later that you wasted your time worrying instead of being thankful.’ It was getting really difficult to meet the mortgage and our bills so my parents were looking for shelter homes.”
At the age of 16, Qadri realized she needed to work to help at home. Relatives told her parents that because of their finances, she shouldn’t count on continuing her education beyond high school.
”It was very upsetting realizing that my grades, school and volunteer activities weren’t enough for people to believe that I had a future. I found it very unfair,” she said. “This is when I challenged myself. I kept telling myself that I will, if God wills, have a great career and education.
“My father was also upset because he works every day from 1 p.m. until 2 a.m. for the future of his kids. He always tells us that he doesn’t want to see us work the hard life he does. Thankfully, he worked his way up once again and is now the manager of a store and the store wants to promote him further.”
Qadri was able to start college and attended Benedictine University for one year. However, she discovered that College of DuPage has a program in Radiography and decided to switch schools.
“I always wanted to be in the health field because I love working with patients,” she said. “This field is very professional and you have to rely on critical thinking. But the best part is you get to interact with all sorts of patients. Taking correct images of patients using X-rays to help the doctor diagnose them properly shows that you play a huge role in people’s lives.
“COD has the best Radiography program. It’s really hard to get into because it’s competitive and the students are held to a much greater standard. Getting a 78 or below is a fail, but on the bright side, most of the X-ray technologists at hospitals – if not all – graduated from the COD program. If you do well in your two years here in the program, most hospitals look for COD students because of this boot camp-like challenging program. You literally can’t have a life for two years but it’s worth it.”
In addition to attending classes and working as a pharmacy technician, Qadri continued to volunteer. She has more than 400 hours under her belt, including more than 200 at the Villa Park Public Library and 126 at Elmhurst Hospital. She also babysat at Safe Harbor and transported elderly patients to various activities at the DuPage Convalescent Center.
As a result of this service, Qadri received the Volunteers in Action Scholarship from the College of DuPage Foundation.
“Volunteering made me so down-to-earth and motherly. I never knew that I’d get back anything for volunteering. All I needed was a smile and to make someone else’s day, but I’m truly blessed to have received this scholarship. It not only made my day, but hopefully my life. I had to cut so many work hours due to this program, but thanks to this scholarship, I could focus on my education and still support my family with the bills and get my straight A’s. It was hard getting those A's but this scholarship made it possible!”
Having earned her Associate in Applied Science in Radiography with high honors, Qadri passed her ARRT board exam, is a Certified Radiology Technologist and accepted a job at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Qadri is thrilled that her education continued at College of DuPage and encourages others to seriously consider the school.
“Just because it’s a community college, people assume that it’s simple. Honestly, it’s the college of dreams. You need to work hard for your grades and your success, but COD has faith in you and your bright future. It’s just your job to pursue it. So many intelligent people study here and are guaranteed an amazing life-long career. Don't miss the opportunity.”
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