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Grads reflect on ECC journey: Claire Lego

Claire Lego

Claire Lego, ECC graduate

School always captivated me, and so I decided from an early age that I wanted to be an English teacher. This was the path I followed, attending Hampshire High School through my junior year, and graduating from Kelvyn Park High School in 2012. I began looking at universities specializing in language and education in the Chicago area, until a new relationship and a new door opened for me.

I moved to Gilberts and applied to ECC, still intent on pursuing education. A year into my degree, however, I began to doubt myself; something just felt "off." I brushed it away, interpreting it as nerves from the move and being the first in my family to graduate. As time went on, that doubt repeatedly surfaced, and I would push it down each time. 

I took a student worker position for the Communications Office, working on everything from press releases to features in the college's publications. A few months later, that now-familiar doubt hit me with a force I couldn't fight: being a teacher and being a student were worlds apart, and I seriously doubted I would enjoy life as a teacher. I had also come to realize that I loved the work I did as a student worker, and changed my major from English to communications at NIU. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could make it, like I had made my "bright choice."

Although I still get overwhelmed from time to time, I no longer doubt my choices. I am so grateful to ECC's Financial Aid and TRiO departments, for helping me fund my education and point me on the correct path, the instructors who have been there to help me through my courses, and finally the Communications Office for granting me the opportunity to be a member of their team. This experience has given me a better sense of who I am and without this opportunity, I would most likely still be on a path to a career where I would have been unhappy. 

The best advice I can give students is to do what feels right. Your thoughts and feelings are there for a reason. If you feel a certain path is right for you, chase it. If you have a dream, hold on to it and don't let it go. Realizing there is always someone there to help you through the journey is reassuring, but making it to the end of the road is the best feeling in the world. You made it because you wanted to. Just like I did.

Claire Lego, Gilberts 


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