Saadia Fatima: Learning to embrace the unfamiliar

  • Tags: Achievements | Commencement | Student Profile
Published 12/16/2019
December 2019 graduate Saadia Fatima

December 2019 graduate Saadia Fatima

“It is strange that what seems at first alien becomes second nature in the blink of an eye.”  ― Sara Sheridan, The Secret Mandarin


I have always been, and still am, an enthusiast of familiarity. Whether it’s in my surroundings, the people I interact with, or my routine, I enjoy consistency. So, when the time came to transition from high school to college, I was simply scared. Dealing with change was not my strong suit. I was afraid of leaving the hallways, the faces, and the environment that I had grown accustomed to during my high school years. I was so anxious that I actually delayed the registration process till the last minute.

When I started my first semester at Elgin Community College in the fall of 2017, I had two different classes with the same teacher: Dr. Joyce Fountain. Dr. Fountain was, and still is, cheerful and welcoming, and became the reason I began to find a level of comfort in my new surroundings. I am thankful for the kindness she showed me during that semester and my entire time at ECC.

Toward the end of the 2018 spring semester, I applied for a job on campus. By the summer, I was officially a student worker in the Office of Student Life. I worked there until mid-fall 2019, and it was the highlight of my time at ECC. I found friends, mentors, and resources that I probably would not have gotten without working there. My time as a student worker helped me gain confidence in myself, exposed me to different situations and people, and encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. I am forever grateful to all the people who made the experience worthwhile and helped me along the way.

ECC is an institution to which I owe a lot. I found familiarity and comfort here, but at the same time, I learned to let go and embrace unfamiliarity. It is an environment in which differences are valued, and diversity brings everyone together.


Saadia Fatima '19

Associate in Arts