Eventual college success not determined by rough start

Pat Escatel, IV Leader Opinion Editor

Three years ago, I attended my first semester at IVCC in fall 2012, after graduating high school in May 2012. I started off with five classes and 15 credits. However, I was nowhere near ready for the college experience.

On the 10th day of the semester, I dropped two courses in order to get my refund. I thought my lack of motivation and preparedness was due to an overloaded schedule, so three classes seemed more manageable in that sense.

My decision did not seem to change the way things were playing out for me. I still lacked the mindset needed to succeed in the remaining courses. I ended up believing that I wasn’t smart enough to meet the requirements and that college wasn’t for me. This led to me
skipping multiple meetings for my classes, and eventually, I
stopped showing up completely, leading to three F’s on my

After that terrible start to my college career, I decided not to attend IVCC the following spring. I was working part-time at a hardware store, making minimum wage, wondering what my future held if college truly wasn’t for me.

In the semester of January 2014, I decided to return to IVCC
and give college a fresh start. After over a year break, I felt that I had taken enough time to recollect myself to the point that I was ready to put the work in to improve my quality of life. I decided to only take three courses in order to ease my way back in and build confidence within myself.

One of the classes I chose to enroll in for my return, was journalism. Part of the class requirements were to write for the college  newspaper, the IV Leader. Due to lack of prior experience in working for a newspaper, I had no idea what section to choose or what to write about.

I chose to write a column for the opinion section, because I felt
that it was an “easy” route in the sense that I simply had to give
my perspective on a topic of my choice. Little did I know, I would
end up loving it.

When I saw my first article published, I felt a sense of accomplishment, something I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I continued writing columns for the opinion section throughout the semester, and I ended up earning a 3.0 GPA in my classes.

I decided to enroll in four courses and 12 credits the following semester, and also continued writing columns for the IV Leader. I felt my confidence rising with each newspaper article published and each successful moment in my courses. I eventually continued my academic achievements and earned another strong GPA.

I felt myself on a positive track, and kept taking courses non-stop, even throughout summer, so I could make up for my lost time in the past. Now, after two years of a positive trend, I am set to transfer to Northern Illinois University in January to finish the last two years of my bachelor’s degree.

My quality of life is so much higher than it was three years ago. If it wasn’t for IVCC and the IV Leader, I don’t think I would be the man I am today and I don’t think I would be confident enough to take the next step and attend a university.

I made a lot of memories during my time at IVCC and I’ll miss all of the people I grew close with; however, it’s time this chapter of my life ended so another can begin.

I’m grateful I had the opportunity to redeem myself and that I am now ready to finish chasing my goal of earning my college degree at NIU in order to achieve a brighter future with my newfound confidence in my own abilities.