It was more than learning out of a textbook; it was learning from your life experiences, putting them together, and moving forward with them
A successful businesswoman, Varga co-owns Varga's Collision Center with her husband John. She handles human resources, marketing, bookkeeping, and maintains the business systems. She has also done consulting through their parent company PPG on customer service and marketing to agents, and drivers' education classes. In the community Varga is active as a member of the Sauk Valley Community College Board of Trustees, and as interim director of Dixon's Main Street program.
Varga credits part of her success to the sense of accomplishment, encouragement and instruction that she received at Sauk.
"The number one thing Sauk did for me was give me that sense of accomplishment and pride. I have my four-year degree because of Sauk and what it had to offer," she says.
Varga took a few classes at Sauk out of high school, but the responsibilities of being a young mother with a new family precluded her from earning a degree at that time. However, several years later a mentor and friend encouraged Varga to go back and earn her degree. She took that advice and received an Associate in Arts in 1996.
"My friend told me, 'what you need to do is go get your degree,'" explained Varga. "I thought, 'this is the time.' John and I were in our own business then, so I could go to school whenever I had to." Varga states that Sauk was the perfect answer for her partially because it was within driving distance which allowed her to still place a high priority on caring for her children and husband. Her return to Sauk marked what Varga calls a "wonderful experience." What she remembers the most was the sense of fitting in.
"I was a non-traditional student, and I really felt like I still fit in. It didn't bother me that I wasn't the young kids' ages," she said, adding that she also remembers the outstanding instruction she received in the classroom.
"I liked the warmth and belief that the faculty had in their students - the belief that they had in what they had to share and what they had to give us," she said, fondly remembering several of her instructors. "They each had their own style of teaching, but, it was the type of teaching that stuck with you. It was more than learning out of a textbook; it was learning from your life experiences, and putting them together with textbook knowledge, and moving forward with both of them."
She also credits the counseling staff for helping her accelerate her education by helping her to get credit for her life experiences, and providing excellent guidance in helping her prepare to earn a bachelor's degree. After considering different programs, Varga decided that a bachelor's program through National-Louis University (NLU) would be a good fit for her. She was also able to attend NLU classes at Sauk as the university brought the courses to Dixon.
"What a wonderful experience again, to be able to go to Sauk one night a week stay with same classmates throughout the entire experience. That was a very nice opportunity," Said Varga who earned a Bachelor of Arts/Science in psychology in March, 2002 from NLU. Earning her bachelor's degree, she says was something she always wanted.
"Earning a bachelor's degree certainly gave me that sense of satisfaction for myself. That is something you hear about all the time; I tell our kids, 'you have to have that four-year degree in this world,'" she said. "It helped me as a person and broadened my own sense of worth of who I am and what I can accomplish."
If she had it to do over again, Varga says she wouldn't change a thing. In fact, her strong belief in the College is one of the reasons she decided to serve on the SVCC Board of Trustees.
"I believe in this institution and its people all the way from the support staff to the faculty to the administration. I just love all of the possibilities and things that Sauk has to offer," she said.