Gina Skiles, Honors Student

Third time’s the charm

Over the course of several months, Gina Skiles tried in vain to work up enough nerve to register for JCCC classes. However, she found success on her third attempt.

Little did this single mother of four know, it was the beginning of her success en route to an associate’s degree in business with a 4.0 GPA.

“I was going through some life changes and I decided to give college a try, even though schoolwork was always a challenge for me because I’m dyslexic,” Skiles said. “Several times I made it halfway into the building in hopes of registering, but I turned around and went home. On the third time, I just kept walking and ended up at the registration desk.”

Skiles recalled how scared she was and how her dyslexia created self-doubt.

“I didn’t know where to go to register,” she said. “I didn’t know how much it was going to cost. I didn’t know what the time investment was going to be. I didn’t know if I would be able to fit into my schedule. There were a lot of unknowns. But everyone was nice. They walked me through the process and helped get me to where I am today.”

It’s been 20 years since Skiles was in a classroom. She didn’t go to college after high school graduation. Instead, she got married, worked full time and raised her children, one with special needs.

“I started at JCCC by taking one class,” Skiles said. “The success I found in my first class motivated me. I developed confidence I needed to do well.”

Skiles talked about her learning disability with her professors, who were helpful and understanding, she said. Through JCCC's Access for Students with Disabilities office, she's been able to take advantage of books on tape and extended testing times. She's even written a paper about coming to terms with her dyslexia.

Skiles encourages others faced with similar situations to give college a try.

“You don’t know what you can do unless you try,” she said. “I had no idea when I started out that I would finish, much less graduate with a 4.0. I was motivated by the successes I experienced along the way – my first A, recommendation from my math teacher for the Honors program and the chance to tell my story before the Honors scholarship committee. I felt deep down that I could do a good job in college. I just needed someone to believe in me, and I found that at JCCC.”