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Hometown: Fox Lake, Illinois

Degree or certificate program at CLC: Associate in Arts, 2013.

Transfer school: Lake Forest College, earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature, 2015.

Jessica Atchison

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I became a student at CLC. I was fresh out of high school and was highly intimidated by the idea of college. Once I started classes at CLC, though, it calmed me down greatly—I realized that not only could I handle a college- level work load, but I enjoyed the classes.

I was awarded the Phi Theta Kappa scholarship because of the grades and GPA I achieved at CLC, as well as the Carnegie Writing Scholarship because of an application essay I wrote for Lake Forest College (LFC). I was awarded scholarships amounting to $23,000. I’m hugely grateful that CLC prepared me so well that I was able to achieve that kind of financial assistance. It was enormously helpful.

I had not even the slightest notion of what I wanted to pursue in college. CLC was a great way for me to begin taking classes while still learning about myself and where I saw my future headed. It was also hugely helpful that the classes are so affordable. I could begin to experience what college was like without the pressure of student loans.

An instructor who really influenced me was Tamara Wolff. I remember reading “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov for her class, and I absolutely fell in love with the book and Russian literature as a genre. Her discussions were always very in depth and she helped demonstrate the richness in the world of literature. Her class helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a degree in English.

I was lucky enough to be part of the Honors Program at CLC, and I feel it definitely aided in my transition to Lake Forest College. Academically, the transition was not as difficult as I feared, and I attribute my time spent in honors courses at CLC to that. Quite a few CLC students transfer to Lake Forest, so I knew people going in, which was very nice.

I know that no matter what career I get into, that I will carry something special to it because of the writing skills I developed at CLC. I had a professor at Lake Forest who once said that the writers that come out of CLC are some of the strongest she has ever seen. I’ve certainly received a lot of appreciation for my writing skills since arriving at LFC, and I have CLC to thank for that.

Right now my career plans are very much up in the air. I’m currently and will continue to apply for jobs in the English field, but as for my perfect career, I’m still so unsure! There’s so much diversity when it comes to job choices in the English field. Everything from editing, to publishing, to writing, to teaching, even human resources and project managing—the list goes on. So for now I’m excited to see what my future will bring and open to try whatever life throws at me.