After graduating from high school, Leslie Morgan transferred to a college in Texas to study music.
Her fantasy from childhood was to become a famous singer. However, due to her health, she left Texas and enrolled at College of DuPage. After completing more than a year of credits, Morgan transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to pursue music again. Unfortunately, as her health issues returned, she dealt with the devastating advice from a professor to not major in music.
“That was one of the most confusing and difficult times in my life, and I knew I needed to make a change,” she said. “After just one year, I dropped out and moved to California, where I learned about myself and the person I wanted to be.”
Having taken a bus to Los Angeles, Morgan once again focused on a music career but struggled. She channeled her feelings into writing, which she had done for several years, and made an important discovery.
“I realized that my passion was not music but creative writing,” she said. “My confident level changed when I determined what I truly loved.”
Returning to Illinois, Morgan worked full time to support herself. When a new position gave her the opportunity to return to school, she jumped at the chance and came back to COD, where she discovered a comprehensive writing curriculum.
One of her mentors was Associate Professor of English Trina Sotirakopulos, who saw Morgan’s potential.
“Professor Sotirakopulos suggested that one of the stories I submitted as an assignment should be published as a children’s book,” she said. “Since then, I have been reaching out to publishing houses. Before studying with her, I never knew how extensive the process of writing, editing and researching suitable publishers could be.”
Morgan earned an Associate in Arts and the Creative Writing certificate. In doing so, she was named one of the College’s Outstanding Graduate finalists. Her goal is to transfer to a four-year university to study English and creative writing while continuing to submit her manuscript to publishers. Then she would like to pursue travel writing and penning children’s literature.
As for unusual path, Morgan would not change anything about it and appreciates the growth she experienced along the way.
“I’m so grateful for every wrong turn,” she said. “College of DuPage solidified my love for writing and applauded my drive to succeed. It took me a decade, but I learned how to dream as big as possible and if I fall down, to fight back.
“I would tell anyone coming to COD to fight for their dreams and their futures because that’s what a COD student does. I am extremely proud to say that I am a College of DuPage graduate.”