I started my first ICC class as a senior in high school for dual credit. I originally planned to attend a university after graduation, but couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So I decided rather than attending a 4 year college where a single class can cost thousands of dollars, I’d attend ICC while I figured out what my interests were. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do, which could have been expensive at a university. ICC was perfect for my situation, allowing me to take a few semesters off, switch degree paths a few times, and try out new and different classes from my degree path. I took traditional classes like Calculus, Jazz, and General Chemistry, and non-transferable classes like Pharmacy Technician and Emergency Medical Technician. Through my EMT classes and love for the core sciences, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine.
After finishing at ICC with an Associate’s in Arts & Sciences, I entered Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with Junior status, meaning I didn’t have to take the required freshman and sophomore courses expected of transfer students without an Associate’s degree. Also, because I was able to take so many classes at ICC, I didn’t have the “filler classes” most upper classman have outside of their major. This allowed me to take more Junior and Senior level courses in my field of study. So with the extra time, I decided to earn not just one degree, but two simultaneously-a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences and a B.A. in Biochemistry. The foundation of knowledge I had gained at ICC in classes like Dr. Billy Cook’s General Chemistry and Dr. Tom Pilat’s Bio-Principles helped prepare me to excel in upper level science classes. After graduation, the plan was to start medical school. But I also wanted to explore other areas of health education, an idea sparked when at ICC. So prior to starting medical school, I earned a Masters in Public Health focused in Geriatric Health. I’m currently a 4th year medical student at A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. In about two weeks, I’ll be graduating from medical school and will be moving to West Palm Beach, Florida, where I will be a resident physician in pediatric medicine.
When I first started at ICC, I was worried that my education might not have been as strong as my friends attending big state or private universities. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I later realized that not only was my education just as good at ICC, but I was actually learning from the same textbooks that were used at the four year colleges and universities. And I was being taught by faculty that had worked in industries pertaining to those specific classes. Learning about chemistry in Dr. Cook’s class was easy when listening to his anecdotal stories from jobs he had held. So was learning the principles of Philosophy by discussing different theological ideas with a professor/Lutheran minister. After an Associate’s degree, two Bachelor degrees, a Masters degree, and soon to be graduating from medical school and becoming a pediatrician, I am proud to say that it all started at Illinois Central College. I hope that many more ICC graduates follow in this great path.