Dreams fulfilled at Chaminade


Alicia Mussman has defied odds by attending Chaminade University which many said she could not do

Alicia Mussman should not even be at Chaminade. Due to learning disabilities and the advice of her high school academic counselors, who told her to attend a community college instead of striving to go to a university, receiving a higher education seemed near impossible. Against all odds, Mussman is currently a junior majoring in Communications and is living out her dream of going to a private Catholic university and receiving a quality education at Chaminade.

The academic standards of a private school are more rigorous than a public school, which became a constant challenge for Mussman. Due to her low test scores and grades in high school, academic counselors advised her to settle for the bare minimum and apply to community college. At that point, Mussman was determined to prove them wrong.

“It made me want to work even harder,” said Mussman. “They didn’t really think I could get into a university.”

By refusing to follow the advice of academic counselors, Mussman did everything she could to succeed, but she continued to fall short. It came to one of her teacher’s attention that she might have had a learning disability, and she was urged to get tested.

“It motivated me to try 10 times harder,” said Mussman. “I always did my school work. I was always trying. Even when I do bad, because I have learning disabilities, I try my hardest and I still do bad on stuff.”

In light of it all, one of Mussman’s teachers had a connection with Chaminade University’s counselor, Dr. June Yasuhara. With much guidance, encouragement and support from family and teachers, Mussman was motivated to graduate high school and go to a private college.

“My family was ecstatic when I got accepted to Chaminade because they knew it was my dream to be accepted into college,” Mussman said.

Mussman first came to Chaminade in July 2011 for summer bridge. She knew, at a college level, that her work effort needed to double if she wanted to do well in school. Like most students who are from out-of-state, Mussman also wrestled with being homesick, adding onto her stress. However, meeting new people and forming friendships with students from all over helped her to cope.

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“I met her in September and we became quick friends,” said Carlos Cortes, a sophomore and good friend of Mussman at Chaminade. “She’s a great person and encourages me to do better by the advice she gives me. She’s someone I can go to and talk to about problems. She’s also fun to be around and hang out with. Like all of us from California, we miss home a lot. We always talk about that and try to not be as homesick as a group, because that is a problem we all face.”

Throughout her academic journey, Mussman always attempted to do her best despite her learning disabilities and hesitation of her high school academic counselors. Today, she is happier than ever to be living the dream that many determined as being impossible for her.

“Always try hard,” Mussman said. “Don’t listen to people who are just going to bring you down. Use that as a tool to try harder.”