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2024 - Kimberly Carreto-Duran: I decided I wouldn't let my fear bring me down

Tags: Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/15/2024
Elgin Community College Spring 2024 graduate Kimberly Carreto-Duran

Elgin Community College Spring 2024 graduate Kimberly Carreto-Duran

During my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to join the Dual Credit Program at Elgin Community College. At first, I was very doubtful about it. I didn't know if I was capable enough to take on this challenge and if it was going to be good for my mental health. Even more so, I had just recently moved to Streamwood in my Junior year, so the fear of leaving something so comfortable again was holding me back. Even though my mind was full of obstructive thoughts, I decided to try it and push myself out of my comfort zone.

I often struggled, doubted my abilities, and questioned if the stress was worth the experience. But knowing I wasn’t doing this experience on my own made me feel at ease. I had a few friends who helped me navigate these overwhelming thoughts and made me feel like I could do it. As a first-generation Mexican-American student, entering higher education terrified me. It brought up a lot of self-doubt, but at the same time, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

I decided that I wouldn't let my fear bring me down. I can happily and proudly say that my efforts paid off. I am graduating this spring and hoping to transfer to obtain my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice.

One piece of advice for future students is to get involved around campus! Many organizations and clubs do an amazing job of making people feel welcome. My first involvement at ECC was getting a job at the Office of Student Life in February 2023; it completely changed my life. I met new people, connected with professors, and became more social on campus. Thanks to this job, I made long-lasting friendships that I will cherish forever. Working here gave me a whole new perspective on community college. It made me realize that the sense of community I sought throughout these years was here.

I also got the opportunity to become the Spartan Pantry Officer for Phi Theta Kappa, which helped me develop my leadership skills and pushed me out of my comfort zone. It also allowed me to work with other students with like-minded ideas and grow as a person. I truly do believe that being involved pushes you to your full potential. I can't believe how much I have learned and grown as a person in the past two years. I'm proud of what I have accomplished and can't wait to see what the future has for me.

I’d like to thank my parents for sacrificing so much and for their constant efforts to give me a better life, especially the opportunity to have an education. Without their support, I couldn't say that I'm graduating. Also, my lovely friends and advisors have pushed me to grow and always supported me, especially Charo from the Office of Student Life. Since the beginning, she has always encouraged me to be more involved and believed in me. She has become a true role model. Thanks to Charo, I had an amazing ECC experience that I will treasure forever.

Kimberly Carreto-Duran ‘24

Associate in Arts

Streamwood, Ill.


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