Single Mother. Honors Student. Scholarship Recipient. Saddleback College Graduate. UC Irvine Transfer Student.
Alexis Petrovich is like many Saddleback College graduates: She earned her associate degree in psychology, graduated with honors, and transferred to UC Irvine.
What’s unique about Alexis’ undeniable success is the fact that she didn’t start out so confident. A 28-year-old single mom who had dropped out of high school, Alexis applied to Saddleback after her mom suggested that she take some classes. “I didn’t think someone like me could even go to college. I just didn’t know. But I thought, why not? Why not just look into it? The worst that could happen is that they say no.”
Alexis packed up her baby and hopped on the bus to campus.
“Then, something amazing happened. They didn’t say no. I could go to school. I could go to this school. I was good enough. My opportunity at an education had not passed me by.”
At first she struggled a bit, but she worked hard and found her footing. Having once reviled math, she became to love and excel in the subject. She received scholarships and was inspired by Professors Alannah Rosenberg and Collette Chattopadhyay, who offered continuous support and encouragement.
With help from Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) and CalWorks, she received guidance, book vouchers, bus passes, and school supplies. When the Associated Student Government gave her a holiday gift of a sweater for her and a jacket for her son, she was touched by what those cherished gifts represented: “Those meant so much to me -- not for what they were, but for what they represented. I felt that I was not struggling alone. I felt that someone cared about what I was trying to do. It was an incredibly profound moment for me.”
Alexis graduated Saddleback College with an Associate in Arts degree in psychology and was accepted to UC Irvine, where she graduated in May 2012. She is the first in her family to graduate college. Alexis’ son is now five years old and is already asking if he can go to college when he grows up. Alexis is extremely proud of all her accomplishments, but she is most proud of herself for leading by example and showing her son that, with hard work and support from people who love you, anything is possible.
“We will always question ourselves. The amazing thing is that, for me, there were people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
Alexis was recognized at the 2012 Saddleback College Scholarship Ceremony, where she shared her moving story.
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