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Graduate Essays - Patrick Able: For the first time in my life, I am not directionless

Graduation Cap

A few ECC graduates share what this achievement means to them

Tags: Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 05/16/2022
Patrick Able, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate

Patrick Able, Spring 2022 ECC Graduate

I never considered getting an education past high school was something meant for me. Throughout high school, I felt bored and that it was a waste of time. To me, it felt more like a place to stick individuals to interact and work together, maybe help you grow socially and academically, but while also spoon-feeding you that if you do not go to college, you will amount to nothing. Being 18 at the time and fresh out of high school, hearing these things put a lot on me. This pressure seems especially great for those of us who have struggled with not knowing how we would want to spend our lives. How are we at 18 supposed to decide how to spend the rest of our lives and make logical choices on the path to doing so? Hearing these things did not make me want to apply myself, try harder, or be better. Quite the opposite; it pushed me away from the idea. Why would I waste money and time doing something that obviously was not for me?

For ten years, I was in and out of Elgin Community College multiple times, trying different things. Each time it was the same result: I never applied myself, and my heart was never in it. During my attempts, I was also working, and like many of us, in a dead-end job going nowhere fast. What are my options? Keep trying to move up? Find a new job? Go back to school? I felt stuck and with no escape. I was making good money, but I was not able to grow.  

Then one day, something unprecedented happened in the last 100 years, something nobody ever expected; a global pandemic that put me out of a job. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a terrible thing, but It made me think about my future and what I wanted to do with it. So, I reapplied to ECC one last time, and it has been one of the best academic experiences of my life.

For the first time in my life, I consider myself a student. Not just a student but a dedicated, straight-A student who is sad to see his time at ECC end. I have done things I never thought of myself ever doing, and I keep proving that I can succeed no matter what I put my mind to. For the first time in my life, I am not directionless, and I have ECC and its wonderful faculty to thank for that. 

Special thanks to Dr. Susan Timm, Professor Glen Earl, and Instructor Rob Russ. Your invaluable support and feedback will be with me and fellow students like me for generations to come.

Patrick Able '22
Associate of Applied Science
Bartlett, Ill.

Visit the ECC Graduate Essays webpage for more graduate stories.