I was summoned to court.
Were you summoned for a debtor's examination, where they ask you for information about your income and assets? If that's what it is, you are probably required by law to go anyway, but you should WANT to go, since that will be your chance to get it on the record that you make too little for garnishment and own nothing they are allowed to take.
I don't think you need to file for bankruptcy to get the benefit of the Illinois property and income exemptions.
Here's a useful webpage describing the Illinois exemptions, courtesy of Illinois Legal Aid Online. At the bottom of the page, just above the comments, they give you links to the text of the laws themselves. Actually, those links don't quite take you to the right sections, so here's a link to the Table of Contents for the Code of Civil Procedure; scroll down to Article XII and click on Parts 8, 9, and 10 to see the sections they refer to (sections 5/12-803, 5/12-901, and 5/12-1001).
Whether to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy now or not is a tricky question. On the one hand, if you wait too long and you get a great job that puts your income above the limit for filing Chapter 7, then you'll have lost that chance. On the other hand, if you file too early then you can't get another Chapter 7 discharge for several years and debts you acquire after your filing date won't be included (won't be discharged in the bankruptcy).