Melissa Lipton “Before I signed up I went to the Counseling office, and they were amazingly helpful. They mapped it all out for me.”

She’s an irrepressible spirit with a penchant for kickboxing, dancing, and spontaneous five-mile runs. But after a serious car accident left her with five pins in her hand and a regimen of physical therapy, Melissa Lipton had to re-evaluate her approach to life just a little. “I’ve got a long way to come back, and I don’t know if kickboxing will be possible,” she says. “And I just recently dropped a class because I’d rather have As in four classes than Bs in five. I’m a perfectionist, and perfection is just going to take a little longer for a while.”

Melissa is returning to college after several years of working in business and health care. “I’ve always wanted to be a psychologist, but I didn’t have the time—or maybe the guts—to do it. But I’m finished playing around, so I’m here to get it done.” It’s her plan to move as quickly as mending bones will allow into working with troubled young people. “You go to a rehab center and the main population there will be teenagers, even children,” says Melissa. “Kids are starting with drugs and alcohol earlier all the time, and I think I can very much relate because I’ve been through some of that. So my own experience is going to give me an advantage, because I think kids are going to trust me.”

Melissa describes herself as a “hard working conscientious team player with a lot of optimism. I think that showing young people the value of some of these qualities can help them deal with their insecurities. Hard work and a good attitude beats drugs any day.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.