Paris Wadhwa knows first-hand what it’s like to be a City Colleges student, and he uses that experience every day as a college advisor at Malcolm X College.

In 2002, Paris moved from India to Chicago with his parents. Even though he already had two years of college under his belt, he had to start over when he came to the U.S. – and that fall he found Harold Washington College.

While he studied, he worked in the Registrar’s Office as a clerical assistant, giving him an idea of the day-to-day workings of a college. When he graduated from HWC with an Associate in Science in December of 2006, and with an eye on working in higher education, he transferred to DePaul and earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in Leadership and Management, then his Master’s of Arts from the School of Public Service with a focus on higher education administration. While he was at DePaul, he continued to get first-hand experience working as a coordinator in the university’s School for New Learning (Now School of Continuing and Professional Studies).

And when he graduated from DePaul, he knew right where he wanted to be.

“The reason I got a bachelor’s and master’s was to be an advisor, and I specifically wanted to come back to City Colleges because I have been through the whole student lifecycle here – I felt I could share my personal experience with students,” Paris explained.

Paris worked at Harold Washington College as an advisor for 4 years, then Malcolm X College for the last 3 years. He likes the culture at City Colleges, where there is a passion to support students from whatever walk of life they come from and whatever their goals are.

“I like the diversity of students we have here, and I really enjoy being able to assist them – especially first-generation students who may not have that support at home. I feel like I understand that; thanks to my own experience, I can help them form a plan, give them tools and resources, and support them.”

He also works as part of a larger student support team, working hand-in-hand with other departments like the Transfer Center and Career Planning and Placement, ensuring students get the help and direction they need.

Paris always advises his students that there is a difference between a dream and a goal and that you should always have a backup plan.

“You might want to be a nurse, but what if you don’t get into a nursing program right away? If you have a backup plan, you aren’t stranded with no place to go,” he says.

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