Student Spotlight: Michelle O'Halloren
Michelle O'Halloren first attended College of DuPage in 1984 but didn't finish. More than 20 years later she returned to study Nursing, and she couldn't be happier.
"I decided to return to COD because I wanted to finish what I had started 25 years ago," she said. "I knew that the best value for my money would be at a community college, and COD has an excellent reputation for its Nursing program. And, my husband is a nursing graduate from COD!"
O'Halloren knew she wanted to be a nurse but, as she explained, "life just kept getting in the way." Thankfully, in 2008, her initial advisor at COD set high goals for her. Every semester since, she has called him with updates on her progress.
In 2009, O'Halloren received her first two scholarships: The COD Foundation Textbook Scholarship and the Eileen Ward Textbook Scholarship.
"These really made an enormous difference for me and my family," she said. "My husband had been laid off at work and the timing of the scholarship couldn't have been better. It was a blessing and a true answer to many prayers so that I could attend school."
Because of the difference her scholarships made, O'Halloren decided it was time to give back. She rallied her classmates to make several donations: $500 to Arabella House, a live-in treatment home for girls and women with eating disorders; a $500 donation to the Pediatric Cancer Center at the Ronald McDonald Children's Hospital; and a $250 textbook scholarship for a first-year nursing student in honor of retiring COD professor Mary Lynn Engelmann.
O'Halloren earned her Associate Degree in Nursing in May 2012 and passed her board exam. She trasferred to Northern Illinois University and is currently in the BSN program while working at an orthopaedic practice in its pain clinic. She works three days a week, which allows her to take classes and spend time with her family.
After earning her bachelor's degree, she would like to work either in geriatrics or surgery.
"My ultimate career goal doesn't involve people's accolades or the number of plaques on the wall. I just want to be the very best at whatever I do, so as to honor those who invested in me personally and in my education," O'Halloren said. "My pastor once told me that if you want to measure your life in terms of greatness, you measure it by how well you served others. That makes perfect sense to me.
"As an older, returning student, I was nervous about what my abilities would be and questioned if I could meet the demands of attending classes, studying and family. I really enjoyed meeting so many new people and I have continued to foster those relationships. It will be a huge accomplishment for me to finally finish what I started here so long ago."
2014 College of DuPage