College: Two and a Half Years That Changed My Life

I was 25 years old, working 60 to 70 hours per week at a fast-food job I hated, stuck in position I would never move up from because I had no college degree, depressed, and had no hope that things would ever change for me. I had a wife and two small children to support. I quit school at 16 so I could go to work, but got my GED when I was 21.

I always wanted to go to college to be a writer, but I just didn’t think my situation allowed for it. I thought I would be stuck in fast-food for the rest of my life

One day, my wife and I were driving to pay some bills and I noticed a college I had seen on a commercial. On the way back home, we decided to stop and just see what they had to offer and if I could even enroll in a college. I took some tests and did really well on them, and they told me I couldn’t easily get some grants and loans to pay for me to go to school.

The first problem was that they didn’t offer any writing classes. It was a computer college, and my counselor said I would make much more money as a computer animator. I wasn’t convinced, but my wife saw dollar signs and pushed and prodded me to take the computer courses.

The second problem was I had very little time to go to school full-time, but I found out they offered classes from 4am to 8am and that fit in very well with my schedule.

Like magic, the grants and loans went through, and I found myself as a college student studying computer animation.

I started classes two weeks later.

I spent the next two and a half years waking up at 3am every morning, going to classes until 8am, then working the rest of the day and night. I usually got home around 9pm and I would do my homework and go to bed around 12. Despite this wicked schedule, I made the Dean’s List every semester and never missed a day of class.

I received my Associates Degree at two years, right about the time my wife delivered our third child.

About this time, my classmates and I were starting to see that computer animation didn’t have the future they said it would, so we started learning other skills that would transfer over to the workplace. I started to teach myself web design and in a few months I found that I knew more about it than my instructors.

I got a job in the field shortly after that, so I withdrew from the computer animation program and started working as a web designer.

I wasn’t upset with my school, because it taught me many things about computers I would never have learned on my own. I felt victorious because I had, against all odds, got my degree and learned the skills I needed to get a great job.

Even though it was very hard to follow my schedule of working and going to school, I did it, and felt a sense of deep satisfaction.

I was a college graduate, and I was proud of it.


This post was a response to the Daily Prompt: Against all Odds where we were asked to:

Tell us about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Be sure to describe your situation in full detail. Tell us all about your triumph in all its glory.


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