Liz Makula's graduation ceremony is Thursday at Waubonsee Community College, but her studies won't stop there.
The Batavia resident plans to enroll in online courses towards a bachelor's degree in nursing and possibly pick up a job.
"I figure if I handled three honor societies, a couple of other students organizations and school, I can handle work and school," Makula said Tuesday.
Makula has handled much more than a heavy courseload in recent years. Her initial Waubonsee enrollment in 2007 was derailed by an asthma treatment that left her in the hospital or sick. Makula, 29, first was diagnosed with asthma when she was 20.
"A lot of kids grow out of it; I grew into it," she said.
Makula withdrew from courses until she got her asthma under control in 2010. She would end up in the hospital later in the year for a different reason – her pregnancy. Makula had preeclampsia, a condition in which pregnant women develop high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine that is cured only by delivering the baby.
Not only did the experience result in the birth of Makula's daughter Abby, it also made her think seriously about becoming a nurse.
"She came down to my level; she encouraged me," Makula said of one her Delnor Hospital nurses. "She made me feel like I wasn't a part of her routine."
Makula continued with her Waubonsee classes and joined the nursing program in fall 2012 after completing the prerequisite courses. Along the way, she became president of Phi Theta Kappa and vice president of the National Technical Honor Society.
Makula said she was able to juggle school and family thanks to support from her parents and her husband's Jeff parents. She said there were times where she could have easily given up, but she is happy she never did.
"If you have a dream, you really should try to go for it," Makula said. "It's amazing to be near the end."
If you go
What: Waubonsee Community College Class of 2014 graduation ceremony
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
Cost: Free, but tickets are required for entry. Those without tickets should visit www.waubonsee.edu during the ceremony to watch a live broadcast of the event.