Alexis Kubala, 21, of Port Tobacco is graduating Jan. 18 from the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) with an associate’s degree in general studies, with an emphasis in English. Kubala is an aspiring writer. In addition to this creative work, she plans to continue her education to earn the credentials needed to teach writing and literature at the college level.

The commencement ceremony this month will kick off the new year on a positive note for Kubala. It will be a welcome change of her fortune in 2017, which she calls “the year that tried to kill me.” It was a year of challenges, including a cancer diagnosis along with several other difficult medical situations, a deer totaling her car and the recognition that while she was accepted to the college of her choice to continue her education, she can’t afford it.

Through all this, Kubala has strengthened her ability to persevere through difficulties. “One thing I took from this year and all the issues is to just enjoy
the silence,” she said.

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In addition, Kubala funneled some of the year’s difficulties into her writing, condensing one of her experiences into a poem that was selected for publication in CSM’s literary journal, “Connections,” this past fall. In addition to submitting work to the journal, Kubala has worked as a tutor at CSM for the past two years, assisting other students with English and writing.

Kubala said she chose to attend CSM because of its affordability and its proximity to home. She found, however, that the quality of the CSM professors provided an additional bonus. “There are a lot of professors at CSM who have helped me enormously in my journey,” Kubala said. “Joseph Vollenberg, Erich Hintze, Kate Surles, John Kulikowski, Rachel Heinhorst and Neal Dwyer have all helped me with pursuing my writing, my love for literature and any questions I have had pertaining to college and universities.”

For more  information on commencement, visit For information on the 2018 winter commencement keynote speaker click here. Photos from graduation will be posted to Jan. 18