The girl in the blue dress and sweet smile is leaving her legacy at MCCC.
Leah Thomas won the Outstanding Student of the Year award at Honors Night on Wednesday, April 18.
“I accredit all my success to the professors here because without them asking me to be a part of things, I would’ve never had the initiative to go and do it myself or even know what I could do,” Thomas said. “I’m excited to see what the next set of professors push me to do.”
Thomas is a fifth semester Writing Fellow, former editor of the Agora, current president of Phi Theta Kappa, and works four days a week.
“Her positive attitude is contagious and she has a gift for helping students around her do their very best too,” said English professor Lori Jo Couch.
Her answer for how she managed it all is simple: scheduling.
Thomas says she writes out her daily schedule, separating tasks into blocks of time. This keeps her sane on busy days.
Becoming friends with the people she spends time with on a regular basis is also an important piece of her success.
“If you like the people you work with 24/7, then everything’s fun. So, here I have the Writing Fellows, the Agora staff, and the professors. It really doesn’t seem like work when you’re hanging out with some of your best friends,” Thomas said.
One of those best friends is her sister, Erin, who is one of the many people Thomas wanted to thank.
“She’s my best friend, and she makes me laugh even when things get extremely crazy. Even when we’re crying we can still laugh,” Thomas said.
“She’s gotten me through my entire life up until this point.”
Thomas also thanks Lori Jo Couch, Tim Dillion, Dan Shaw, her family, and God.
Shaw was the first professor Thomas got to know on campus.
“Without him I wouldn’t be here, I would’ve gone on to another university and been there for four years,” Thomas said.
She wanted to thank her family for always supporting her in everything she decided to do and was grateful that they let her make her own decisions, especially about her education.
Her favorite class was a speech course with Mark Bergmooser because the interactive class gave her the opportunity to get to know other students, she said.
Thomas will be heading off to The King’s College in New York City to get a bachelor’s degree in Culture, Media, and the Arts.
Ultimately, she plans on getting her master’s degree in Linguistic Anthropology.
Some of the advice she leaves is to be thankful.
“Be thankful because everyone in higher education is privileged to be here. Life is so much richer when you thank the people around you and take the time to acknowledge them,” Thomas said.
Another piece of advice is to take responsibility for education-both for the things done wrong and the things done right.
“Another thing is just take responsibility for your education, because ultimately you’re the one that gets to decide what path you’re going down,” she said.
It’s just as important to take responsibility for both the things that maybe aren’t done so well and need to be improved, as it is to be proud of the things that are done right, Thomas said.
“The final thing is just remembering-remembering where you’ve come from and using that to motivate you to do more,” she said.