I came to Elgin Community College in the fall of 2016, undecided and a little disappointed in myself for not being away at school. While my friends were taking on new adventures, I was at home following the same routine—school, work, and homework. However, the District 509 Board of Trustees Scholarship requirements encouraged me to join Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society and the honors program, experiences which made me realize ECC is the best decision I have made.
PTK gave me the chance to work with like-minded individuals who became close friends while also giving back to the community through volunteerism at places such as the Spartan Food Pantry. As the service officer, I learned the importance of volunteer service and the many ways in which you can give back. Being an officer required me to become better at managing my time, work in team settings, and plan and manage people and events.
The honors program offered me a community of focused peers that ignited my interest as a student, encouraging me to participate more and truly enjoy the subjects we covered in class. In my English 101 class we were often challenged to step out of our comfort zones and explore uncomfortable topics to try to bring attention and much-needed change to those issues. Including honors classes as an essential part of my course schedule led me to accumulate a total of 24 honors credits.
Instead of thinking of ECC as the subordinate choice, I learned that it is instead a challenging and affordable school in which people can become prepared for their career paths. I will be receiving an Associate in Arts and will transfer to Northern Illinois University to major in accounting with a minor in data analytics.
I am grateful for professors Gary Grohs, Jason Kane, David Packard, and Ranae Ziwiski for pushing me to aim higher and for their endless advice.
~ Carla Mares, Elgin