Zariah Muhammad and her uncle were shot Aug. 11 when a gunman walked up to them in the street and opened fire, according to ABC station WLS in Chicago.
A bullet fractured Zariah's skull, leaving her in the hospital for several days. Her uncle, 22, died from the shooting, WLS reported.
Less than a month after the shooting, Zariah headed off to her first day of first grade today.
"She's excited, but she's nervous at the same time," her mother, Gloria Muhammad, told ABC News after dropping Zariah off.
Muhammad said Zariah's planning to focus on improving her reading and getting ahead in math in anticipation of second grade.
"I'm excited," Muhammad added. "Because a couple of weeks ago it could've been totally different."
Muhammad, who braided her daughter's hair to cover the bandage on her head, told WLS the shooting has enhanced the fears of the children in their family.
"The only way they feel confident is when everybody in the family is around," she said. "If we walk around on the street, they want to hurry up and get home. It was never like that before."
Zariah, meanwhile, now has a career in mind as a result of her injury.
"She wants to be a doctor," Muhammad told ABC News. "Before [the shooting] she had never been hospitalized." But while recovering in the hospital "she was able to sit up and see everything the doctors were doing helping her," she said.
Zariah told WLS she wants to be a doctor "because they help people get better."
The Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment. As of last month, the shooter remained at large, according to WLS.