Student Profile

Alyce O. ’20
Alyce O. ’20
Eastvale, California

Recipient of the Helen Probst Mills and Stuart I. Mills Odyssey Scholarship

How did you learn about UChicago? When did you first know that UChicago was the right college for you?

I learned about UChicago during an online college search. I was looking for a very particular kind of school, only I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. When I stumbled upon UChicago, I discovered things about it that I hadn’t realized I wanted out of my own college experience, such as quirky school traditions (Dollar Shake Wednesdays and Scav) to an infamously rigorous, yet collaborative academic environment. The fact that the school is located in the city of Chicago was just the cherry on top for me. I would not only get to be a student at an amazing university, but I also would get to become a city dweller and have access to opportunities that I would not have elsewhere.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since arriving on campus?

Though brilliant, driven, and achieved beyond comprehension, everyone at UChicago is just like me, trying to navigate the next four years of college and figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Everybody has their own unique triumphs and struggles, advantages, and disadvantages, so it’s not fair to compare yourself to others or feel like you are doing something wrong by not always being at the head of the so-called rat race. I’ve learned to take things at my own pace and focus solely on trying to make the most of my own abilities and improve upon them instead of picking at my shortcomings, and that has made all the difference in my perception of school and life.

What has your UChicago experience been like outside the classroom?

While sitting in a UChicago classroom is always an incredible learning experience, my time outside the classroom has been equally, if not more, rewarding. I’ve met amazing people from my house and registered student organizations who are diverse in their interests and talents and have learned about the rich offerings of the local Hyde Park community and the city of Chicago.

If you could speak directly to the person whose gift supported your scholarship, what would you say?

I am one of four children of a single, working-class parent making less than what it takes to live a comfortable life. The fact that I am able to study at UChicago without even the faintest worry of how I will be able to afford this opportunity says enough about what an incredible blessing and privilege it is to be on the receiving end of your donation. Instead of looking for ways to pay the bill, I am free to put the entirety of my focus and energy into learning, being an active member of my community, and working toward my future career goals. Thank you a million times over for being a steward of higher education for those who wouldn’t have the means to attain it otherwise. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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