Skip to content

Graduate Essays - Ashley Freeman: ECC Let Me Explore My Career Options

Graduation Cap

A few ECC graduates share what this achievement means to them

Tags: Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/19/2021
Ashley Freeman, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate

Ashley Freeman, Spring 2021 ECC Graduate

To me, choosing Elgin Community College was a no-brainer. I am a first-generation college student and didn’t fully grasp what I wanted to pursue for my future. Community college seemed like the best decision for me to complete some classes and navigate through the program options to see if anything caught my attention.

I always knew I wanted to be in the medical field but wasn’t sure which subfield. Thanks to ECC, I landed on the physical therapist assistant program. Physical therapy has long been a part of my life, as I have seen multiple family members go through it. I was accepted into ECC’s competitive program in the spring of 2019. Things were finally looking up, and I was starting to see an end to college life and the start to my future.

Then COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2020, and I felt like that was going to be the start of my downfall – I worried about the quality of education I would be receiving. Luckily, I found constant support and flexibility from instructors Kim Tarver, Betsy Holmer, Filomena Ricci Rauschcert and Barbara Ostrowska, and more.

Kim Tarver; one of the best humans and teachers anyone will have the honor of meeting, has the greatest impact on me during my time at ECC. She is the best cheerleader to have on your sidelines and one of the hardest coaches. I lost my grandfather to COVID-19 in April of 2020, and she was always there for me when I was struggling, even with some of the smallest tasks. I cannot thank her enough for just being her.

My advice for future students, especially health professions students, is to take a break and breathe every once in a while. In times like these, it’s easy to get caught up in life and not appreciate the small things around you. Always remember who supported you from the beginning; succeed and build a better future for yourself and them.

To my fellow Class of 2021 graduates: Congratulations for overcoming the pandemic and graduating with your head held high! Good luck in all your future endeavors!



Ashley Freeman, Lake in the Hills

Associate of Applied Science


Read more graduate essays.