After spending more than 15 years out of the classroom, Roberto Pacheco decided he wanted more direction in his life – and started taking classes at Wright College. Now a semifinalist to receive the prestigious, nation-wide Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, he’s also set to earn his associate in arts this spring and has already accepted early decision to two four-year universities.

Roberto worked in various fields – as a booking agent for bands, in real estate, and even in hotels – but nothing he would call a career. His wake-up call came one day while he was driving downtown and saw a man he had worked with just a year before who was now homeless.

“I thought ‘what am I doing with my life?’ I was 30 and my friends had families and careers. I knew I needed something stable and that an education would give me that,” he explained.

In the fall of 2017, Roberto started out with a few classes because he was nervous about having been out of school for so long. As he began to feel more comfortable, he decided to jump in and really make the best of his college experience. He joined clubs, became president of the Great Books Student Society, secretary chair of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and an embedded tutor in a composition class. He also found his passion, with the help of his professors.

“I love philosophy and asking questions about what is ‘good,’ what is morality, why do we do what we do,” he said. And eventually, Roberto plans to head to law school and be able to make a difference in people’s lives.

Saying his experience at Wright was completely fabulous, he urges others who are thinking about going back to school to do it. “It’s such a good feeling,” he said. “It felt like I turned back time. If you want to do it, get involved, jump in with both feet and give it 1000%.”

Ready to move forward in your life? Visit or call (773) COLLEGE to learn more about enrolling at City Colleges of Chicago.

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