Jess Russell ’18 says supporting herself through college is the hardest thing she has ever done.
“But I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said. “Working my way through college has been a great way to learn responsibility, time management, and how to budget my money, very early in my adult life. I am additionally grateful for the support I have received from Thomas during this time, advice and otherwise, because it played a huge factor in my being able to continue my education.”
Jess can’t wait to walk across that graduation stage in May.
“Getting the opportunity to have the degree in my hand will be the best feeling in the world,” she said. “Many people say that you work hard for four years just for a piece of paper, but to me, that piece of paper will show the first of many accomplishments I plan to achieve.”
While at Thomas College, Jess is studying forensic psychology and criminology. It is with the professors and the curriculum where she has found her passion for helping others and for public service.
She also has played field hockey during her four years, as well as working in the athletics department, an internship at the Crisis Mental Health Services – and in October, she already landed a job in her field of study (even before graduating).
Jess works at Acadia Hospital on their inpatient pediatric floor as a psych tech.
“I already love it,” she said. “My internship at Crisis Mental Health Services gave me the opportunity to learn and grow as a mental health provider, and that set me up perfectly to transition into a new job. The certifications and experience I was able to obtain made the transition to Acadia Hospital very easy for me.”
Jess goes to class, works long hours, plays a sport, and studies. It is exhausting, but she couldn’t do it without the help of her friends, family, professors, and coaches.
“My time at Thomas has been an uplifting and memorable experience,” she said. “My teachers have been advocates, great role models, and have encouraged and pushed me to be the best student and the best person I can be. My classes have kept me engaged, and I use everything that I am learning from my major classes in my job now. The community, especially my close friends and teammates, have been my family away from home. Not a single day goes by where I don’t feel supported and loved.”
From Pembroke, New Hampshire, Jess knew she wanted to attend a small college.
“I wanted to go to a school that would mimic the community setting that my small, private high school had,” she said. “Thomas is the perfect place. It is small, has a great sense of community, and I knew I would fit right in.”
Jess said Thomas College has provided her with a great education, environment, and community.
“College should be a place where you can learn, enjoy your time, and make memories,” she said. “I firmly believe that Thomas College can provide that for people, just like it did for me. College is only what you make of it; however, if a high school student is anxious, scared, confused, or unsure of where or what direction they are going in life, I suggest they give Thomas College a call.”