Major: Associate in Science
Vidhi Desai had just finished her sophomore year in high school when her family moved to the U.S.
Born and raised in India, she understood why because her family was struggling to earn a living. However, when she began her junior year at a new school, Desai was the only Indian in her class and felt like she didn’t belong.
“Even though I had learned English in India, I could not understand most of the lectures,” she said. “I could not make any friends as I was different and could not fit in. I tried my best to get good grades in my classes, but I could not concentrate. I felt most of my classes were going at a very fast pace and I could not catch up.”
Desai was surprised at how much technology she was required to use. In India, students completed some work on computers but mainly relied on books, pens, pencils and paper. Submitting assignments electronically was new to her.
Still struggling through her senior year, she kept to herself and took up painting as a way to express her feelings. When it came time for college, Desai was unsure of the process and had not paid attention to the SAT. She enrolled at College of DuPage but once again was immersed in technology due to the pandemic. This time, she found the help she needed.
“I was still struggling with my courses, but to my surprise, I had a 4.0 GPA at the end of the first semester,” she said. “College of DuPage helped me get the confidence back in my life through various tutor services in the Learning Commons. It helped me focus on the major goal of my life, and it helped me move forward with a growth mindset.”
Desai originally began studying horticulture. But after taking Biology 1152 with Associate Professor of Biology David Taylor, she realized that she was more interested in plant genetics than agriculture.
COD made me realize my passion and gave me the motivation to complete my goals.
“Biology was one of my weakest subjects, but Professor Taylor was so good at teaching that I got an A,” she said. “I decided to major in botany and be a plant biotechnologist. I want to make organic products and research plant life in order to learn the connection between plant life and the environment.”
On campus, Desai volunteered to work in the prairie, helping with cleanups and burns. The experience furthered her desire to study botany.
When it came time to transfer, Desai was struggling with her application essay and, upon the advice of her English professor, returned to the Learning Commons to take advantage of WRSA—Writing, Reading, Speech Assistance Services.
“The coaches at WRSA guided me in the right direction,” she said. “They helped me find and share my voice through my essay and gave me the confidence to submit my transfer essay to several schools.”
Desai was accepted at multiple universities and decided to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As for her time at COD, she cannot say enough about her positive experience. In graduating with an Associate in Science degree, she earned highest honors for carrying at 4.0 grade point average and was named on the College’s outstanding graduate finalists.
“COD made me realize my passion and gave me the motivation to complete my goals,” she said. “My advice for anyone considering attending College of DuPage is to explore what services the College has to offer. They can help students be successful with their courses and prepare for the future. COD also has a great faculty and student helpers who are willing to work with you every step of the way.”