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Grads reflect on ECC journey: Karina Nava

Karina Nava

ECC graduate Karina Nava

During my sophomore year at Larkin High School, I realized that as an undocumented student, the possibility of attending college was non-existent. After graduating high school with a mediocre G.P.A. and zero motivation, I worked for four years. However, there was a thirst inside me that wanted more. At 22 years old, I enrolled myself in Elgin Community College (ECC). I chose ECC because it is affordable, I could start fresh, and I knew I would not be judged for being a returning student.

My time at ECC has completely turned my life around. It has exceeded even my highest expectations. During my first semester, I attended class and went straight home afterwards, without taking advantage of any extra-curricular opportunities. Due to my grades however, I was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society my second semester.  I began to become more actively involved in the organization, which allowed me to open up, meet new people, and develop great leadership skills. Being involved in clubs has opened many doors for me and has even helped me get scholarships from the ECC Foundation.

My biggest piece of advice for new students is to become involved and take advantage of every opportunity that is available at ECC. Join clubs, take honor classes, and apply to scholarships. I found that by taking risks and facing my fears, I grew into a confident, motivated student with the leadership skills needed to go on to the next step in my academic journey. I am now graduating from ECC, three years after I enrolled, and the thirst inside me has been quenched and replaced by excitement and determination for what is next.  ECC has helped me become the person I need to be to earn my Bachelor's degree at Loyola University and ultimately, graduate from medical school.

Karina Nava, Elgin


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