I attended Illinois Central College, (ICC) because I was fortunate enough to receive a two year scholarship in middle school. I accepted the scholarship with mild reservations, although I was extremely grateful. Like other students, I was hopeful of the prospects of attending a four year college away from home. My reservations increased as I received scholarships to Bradley University and Illinois State University while I was in high school. Additionally, a lot of my friends in high school claimed they were attending major universities, and I felt left out in not being able to celebrate the prospects of parental independence.
Nonetheless, my parents convinced me they were not paying for me to attend a four year institution, and the economic realities of 4 year university debt convinced me to stay at home and attend ICC. I had an idea I wanted to become an attorney, but I had no idea how to get there. My first day at ICC, I changed my major from Psychology to Speech to English, and coincidently, I changed my class schedule as well to reflect my changes in major. My ICC advisor, beholding the patience of a Saint, convinced me that attorneys had to write proficiently, and majoring in English would be a safe choice. He was correct. At ICC, I became a better writer and involved myself in social/service organizations, while maintaining an average over 3.3/4.0 scale. I also matured socially and made friends for life.
In retrospect, I was not ready to go away to school. I think if I would have left the area, I would have been digging myself out of a hole academically, and I would have spent an excessive amount of money for summer school. I may not have ever recovered to attend law school.
Upon my completion at ICC, I transferred to The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, (U of I). All of my ICC classes transferred to the U of I due to the help of ICC’S QUEST program, and I received better grades at the “harder school.” I graduated U of I with a 3.6/4.0. ICC prepared me as I competed with non-traditional students at ICC who were serious about academics and achievement. Some ICC students were divorcees and had full-time jobs and/or had families at home. I found myself generally to be more mature than some of my classmates at U of I, and my grades followed accordingly. Without ICC, I am not sure I would have been 40 under 40 in Peoria, a community activist, a business owner, let alone an Attorney at Law. This is my ICC story.Next: Tabatha Dragonberry