Cassie Nesheim had returned to school twice before but coming to College of DuPage was different.
“It is a big school but the professors go above and beyond to reach out to every student,” she said. “I felt very much like I was a valued member of the COD community.”
When she started at COD, Nesheim took one class – Financial Accounting, offered in an 8-week session and online.
“My daughter had just turned 3 and it was hard to suddenly start having several chapters of homework every week, but I loved it,” she said. “The class included a community service component of preparing tax returns for local families, and I really enjoyed doing that.”
Nesheim continued to take one class at a time to make sure she was comfortable handling the workload. Eventually she started taking two classes each semester as she pursued her associate’s degree in Accounting.
“I have always had an interest in accounting,” she said. “I enjoy the organization of it and there are many different employment options for a person with an accounting degree.”
In 2016, Nesheim earned her degree and was named one of the College’s Outstanding Graduates. She initially worked part-time for the Village of Carol Stream in the Public Works Department, using many of the skills she learned as part of her Accounting degree. She also ran her own bookkeeping business and offered accounting services to small businesses that only need help a few hours each month.
Nesheim then was hired part-time to help with bookkeeping and administrative duties at Bridge Communities, where she is now full time as the staff accountant.
“I am doing what I love, living my best life professionally and working for an esteemed not-for-profit right here in Glen Ellyn,” she said. “I know my degree in Accounting from COD played a determining role in my readiness to take on this position and in being awarded the post. Bridge has great respect for COD and it’s an incredible value in the community.”
COD prepared Nesheim well for whatever comes her way.
“The availability of online classes and convenient evening class times was instrumental in helping me, and I feel very fortunate that one of best community colleges in the nation is 20 minutes from my house,” she said. “My advice to other students is to keep going. Even if your schedule is busy, take one class at a time and just keep chipping away at your goal. And always ask for help if you are struggling with a class. Be respectful of the professor’s time and do not wait until the last week of class. Also reach out to your fellow students. I have made lifelong friends with several students from my study groups.
“It’s never too late to get the education you always wanted. It was daunting when I saw how many credits I needed to fulfill for my degree. But class by class, I worked at it. If I can do it, you can too.”