The Schuler Program equips bright, motivated youth with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond. Writing from thirteen schools located in the greater Chicago area in Lake and Cook Counties of Illinois, scholars reflect on their academic experiences, cultural exposures, college applications processes, and more.
Jessica's Infectious Diseases class at the Centers for Disease Control
be a scary thought at times, especially if you are the first person in your
family to go through the college process. When my Scholar Coach told me I would
be attending a summer college program, I was worried about being
away from home and unsure of what to expect. After many tries, I perfected the
application to the best of my ability and was excited to be accepted to the
Emory University Pre-College Program. I attended a two week course called
Infectious Diseases: Causes and Cures. During the course of these two weeks,
I had the time of my life, learned many things, developed new relationships and
grew as a scholar.
The first step was saying goodbye to my parents at the airport as I made my way
to Atlanta, Georgia. Thankfully, I had another Schuler Scholar with me who made
things less intimidating. Time passed by quickly and as soon as I arrived I
made new friends with students going to the Emory summer college program. I
loved to hear where students were from because they were from all across the
country, and I even had the opportunity to meet some foreign exchange students.
foot on campus was one of the best experiences of my life. Emory University has
multiple new buildings and beautiful, green scenery. My worries and fears
slowly faded to the back of my mind as I fell in love with my environment and
the people who surrounded me.
Once we were
separated into different classes, I learned that my class was one of the
largest because the topic was interesting and offered hands-on work. The class
was taught by a professor named Michael Mina. He shared his college experience,
personal experiences and career path. I gained incredible knowledge from his
teachings. He told us to never be discouraged by the people who say, “You are
not capable of doing this” or, “That is impossible.” Set your mind on something
you are passionate about and give it your all. In addition to this advice and
life lessons, I learned many things about infectious diseases that I never thought
I would learn in only a two-week span. We also had the opportunity to visit the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
and time were required to finish the homework assignments, but there was also a
social component to the “college experience”. I was away from my parents and on
my own. I decided how to manage my time and made room for fun activities, like
exposures to different parts of the city. I developed strong relationships not
only with my professor, but also with other students. There are a couple
friends I still talk with to this day. The summer college program turned out to
be a great success in convincing me that college is not that scary. I know now
that college offers academic gain, creates new relationships, and transforms
students into scholars.
Jessica Ilc is a member of the Maine East High School Class of 2015.