In a way, I spent the last sixteen years preparing for college. The second half of my life, more so than the first, was a conscience effort focused on developing who I was and figuring out what was important to me – both metaphysically and superficially. I had spent a lot of time and effort in combat with education in the first half of my life, not because I didn’t want to learn, but because I couldn’t focus. I was imprisoned by a broken structure of learning like most kids, but for some reason I couldn’t handle it. I was prescribed Ritalins, Zolofts, and a couple other ones I can’t remember. I was expelled from Catholic school in first grade and suspended from public in fourth. I even almost failed seventh grade. Eventually, I dropped out of high school and spent my early twenties working at gas stations and doing general labor jobs, until maturity sunk in and my arrested development began to subside.
The Internet had taken over everyone’s life and I was no exception. I began to be exposed to things that never would have been possible ten years ago. An insatiable thirst for knowledge began to awaken in me. History, politics, and science – I wanted to know everything! No longer was being smart uncool or frowned upon. I started to revere people like Theodore Roosevelt, Marie Curie, and Richard Feynman. It was at this point that my mother started going to college at the age of 53. She begged me to go as well but I was still trapped in my self-imposed exile from academia, unsure of what college could do for me and afraid of what it couldn’t. Around the same time, I started moving up at my job, exchanging my blue collars for white, eating lunches with corporate big wigs and traveling the Midwest – from GED to Regional Manager.
It was in my sixth year at the company that my mother graduated college – she was 59 now. It was an inspiring act of courage that formed my belief that anyone can do anything. I was as far as I was going to go in the corporate world without having an education. Also, I was sick of the greed and bottom lines that were part of my everyday life; I was sick of being associated with companies like Monsanto. I wanted to do something important with my life – I wanted to make a difference. Because of my mother, I believe that anyone can do anything, so I quit my job, cashed out my 401k and dedicated my life to higher education.