Major: Meeting and Event Planning
Amy Frese was unable to keep up with her classmates in school.
“I never felt confident throughout my education,” she said. “Studying was a struggle, and the more I tried to learn, the more difficult it was to accept failure. During my junior year in high school, I found out that I have several learning disabilities, which I still struggle with today. My reading and comprehension level was that of a fourth grader. However, I was able to learn how to compensate for it with a strong personality and great relationships with my teachers.”
Frese managed to graduate from high school and earned a scholarship to play volleyball at Loras College. Unfortunately, she dropped out because she was unprepared for the work involved with taking college classes.
Several years later, she found herself at a crossroads.
“I needed to take my life, yet again, in a new direction,” Frese said. “I ended my marriage of 19 years and was dealing with several serious family issues. I lost who I was over those 19 years—I lost my drive, my motivation and love for myself. I knew that I needed to not only support my children and keep a roof over their heads but also to improve myself.
“Coming to a crossroads like this, you only have two options: give up or rise up. I chose to rise up and become the person I was always meant to be—courageous, strong and smart.”
The fear I had to overcome to even step foot into a classroom as an adult was my first step to discovering how brave I can be. I saw the results of hard work and determination to not only pass my classes but also to excel.
Frese began taking classes at College of DuPage as well as working there, first as a part-time employee and then full time in the Marketing and Communications Department. Her coursework in pursuing the Meeting and Events Planning degree mirrored her job duties as a project assistant, and she immediately began to apply what she learned.
She also began applying her knowledge in the community. Frese was appointed as the vice president of Marketing and Communication for the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, representing the College and its community outreach efforts. She is also the coordinator of the Glen Ellyn 4th of July parade and fireworks show.
“I have served on the 4th of July committee for five years and really enjoy volunteering my time to plan and create memorable experiences for the 10,000-plus Glen Ellyn residents that attend these events every year,” she said.
As for returning to the classroom, Frese achieved far more than she thought was possible.
“The fear I had to overcome to even step foot into a classroom as an adult was my first step to discovering how brave I can be,” she said. “I saw the results of hard work and determination to not only pass my classes but also to excel. I was proving to myself that I am capable of being an A student.”
In graduating with her Associate in Applied Science degree and the Wedding Planning Management certificate, Frese earned high honors and was named one of the outstanding graduate finalists.
“The confidence I gained at College of DuPage helped me to define the direction in which I want to take my career and expand on it,” she said.
Considering her early struggles in school, Frese is proud of what she accomplished and wants others to find inspiration in her story.
“Life certainly takes you in directions you don't see coming. My life is no exception,” she said. “College of DuPage made me the person I am today. My inner strength was certainly tested with long nights of studying. The results I saw after giving my classes everything I had is something that is difficult to put into words. The best I can say is that I found my worth. I am proud of the person I have become and the person that I will become when life takes me in a new direction. I'm ready to face what comes. I know now I can accomplish anything.”