It’s been a long road—10 years long, to be exact—but Greg Wells’ perseverance will pay off next week as he joins the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences Class of 2013.
Wells, who uses a wheelchair, was paralyzed at the age of 15 in a high school wrestling accident and also has a documented learning disability. These challenges, he says, make everything a little bit harder, but by staying true to his mantras of “keep going” and “never give up,” he has overcome them in a way that’s impressive by any standard.
“I knew getting a college education was a must,” Wells says. “Hearing people say, ‘You’re not going to be able to achieve “X” or having professors tell me, ‘Maybe this major isn’t for you’ only motivated me to push past the status quo.”
Wells, after attending CSU, Chico on and off since 2002, will be graduating with bachelor’s degrees in social work, psychology, and social science, and a minor in family relations. His progress was put on hold time and time again by illness, extensive surgery, and recovery, but he attributes his ability to stay motivated to his inner strength, faith, and family support and encouragement.
“Things happen in life,” Wells says. “It’s how you deal with those things that determines what kind of person you are. When you fall, how do you pick yourself up? That defines your character.”
Wells is passionate about continuing his education and intends to apply to the master’s program in psychology, marriage and family therapy. He also plans to build on his experience interning with Independent Living Services of Northern California by continuing to work in the human service field with his current degrees. He hopes to eventually have his own practice and work full time.
“I could be a very angry person,” he says, “but everybody has challenges. I’ve gotten this far—there’s no point in me quitting now.”