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Graduate Essays - Wendy Rivera: At ECC, I finally felt like I belonged

Graduation Cap

A few ECC graduates share what this achievement means to them

Tags: Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020
December 2020 Graduate Wendy Rivera.

December 2020 Graduate Wendy Rivera.

During my senior year of high school, I had absolutely no idea where I would be going or what my major might be. My GPA had suffered, and I was not a "stellar" student by any means. I decided to go to Elgin Community College because it felt safe. I enrolled in the Human Service generalist program, and it has been the best decision I've made. I finally felt like I belonged.

I come from a family of immigrants and have struggled through my college journey. I applied to DACA in high school and began saving money to pay my way through college. I felt that if my parents worked so hard to get me to where I am, I needed to work harder to make their sacrifices worth it.

I began the program motivated to learn and inspired to be the best human service worker I can be. I completed my internships at PADS of Elgin, which allowed me to grow in ways I would not have been able to alone. I want to thank the PADS staff for their support and for allowing me to show what I'm capable of. I would have never had this opportunity without ECC.

I never imagined myself graduating with high honors and transferring for my bachelor's degree. ECC has shaped me into who I am today: I've learned to be more interactive and take advantage of the resources given to me. 

ECC is filled with outstanding professors that care and are understanding. I want to thank Dr. Liddy Hope for guiding and encouraging me, Dr. Joseph Rosenfeld for giving the best advice, and former professor David Carrillo for inspiring me. I want to thank my parents for believing in me and supporting me.

To all the Dreamers, I want to encourage you to pursue college, don't be intimidated—one step at a time, sí se puede.


– Wendy Rivera, Hanover Park
   Associate of Applied Science


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