When I came to college, I thought I was just going to 13th grade to become a people expert and do big things. It was 2008 and I was 25. Neither of my parents had gone to college. Only a few of my friends had. The privileged ones. My perspective is that of a “non-traditional” student, i.e., I didn’t go in right after high school. I worked full-time in construction. I expected college to be this elite place that led to success. I was ignorant if that isn’t clear.
UW Fox Valley was a transformation ground for me. I left high school in 2001 not giving a shit. I barely graduated. College wasn’t even on the radar for people like me, from people like my parents. I went in expecting only to learn with a bunch of smart people. The reality was what I made it. There were opportunities everywhere, and seizing them was like a game. By the time I left, I had a wall of awards.
A year later, after transferring, I dropped out of UW Milwaukee because I wasn’t impressed with any of it anymore. Not the instruction, the idea of a college degree, the indentured servitude.
I believed I could make a difference in the world without the arduous, inexcusably expensive, and questionable necessity of attaining a bachelor’s degree. There was plenty of discussion about it in the media. That piece of paper didn’t guarantee anything. I knew all along that I would have to produce. Using raw and honed skills to produce what someone wants. That’s what mattered. And even though I learned a lot – about the world, a handful of useless subjects, and myself, school seemed to only hold me back. So I dropped out in 2012. I bought a one-way ticket to Spain and walked across the country for 33 days.
And that is how my college expectations went. But wait! It’s 2020 and here I am. You’ll have to read my blog and check out my photography to see what 6 years wandering the world looks like, and why I’m at UW Madison.