Divorce is a life-changing process for everyone involved. Jessica Gehris has learned how to turn her family’s personal experience with divorce into an inspiration for her career choice.
As a sociology major and Adult Professional Studies student, she finds people fascinating and is interested in helping others, especially children dealing with family issues. She hopes to advocate for kids who often cannot articulate what they want or need during a family crisis such as a divorce.
“I realize how important it is to have someone advocating for you,” she recalls from her own experience. “I would love to be that person for someone.”
As a teenager, Gehris and her three younger siblings endured the stress and heartbreak of a custody battle. She has vivid memories of the courtroom—both parents pleading their case for custody. “I felt torn. I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t,” she confesses. Reflecting now, she wishes that she had had someone looking after her and explaining what was happening, because it was such a confusing time.
Because of her love for working with children, and with a young daughter of her own—Jessica appreciated the Lifespan Development class she took with Dr. Sassone. Learning how babies develop and exploring the different life stages and brain development that occurs was fascinating for Jessica and useful information for her as a new mom of a 2 ½-year-old.
“My daughter comes first, school second,” Jessica emphasizes. She organizes her study time around nap schedules and bedtime. Even so, she is planning to graduate this August by taking four courses each semester maximizing her time by taking classes both on campus and online.
In her spare time, Jessica balances the seriousness of her studies with cooking and baking and loves to watch feel-good rom-com movies.
Perhaps it is her life experience that makes her appreciate a happy ending and drives her passion to provide one for kids who need it the most.