Network Engineering, HuntsvilleBrian

“Hardcore rock and roll musicians and time management don’t really go together. You play a four-hour set at a bar or something like that and 3:00 in the morning is about the time you’re coming home. Getting up in the morning and going back to work was hard. So when it came to the time of knowing that my music career is not going to take off like most hope and seeing that I now have two boys that depend on me and my wife, it was time to get busy.

“Hardcore rock and roll musicians and time management don’t really go together.”

I was already good at computers, so it was a natural choice for me. I made the decision to go back to school for the sole purpose of having a career. I wasn’t going to play around. So I got every certification they offered, some more difficult than others. That actually afforded me to expand my job search. I ended up saying, you know what? I need to be a broader, more well-rounded IT person, so I got all of them. And it’s paid off in the career.

Our son has high-functioning autism. He struggles quite a bit at school and at home, so we’re living with autism along with him, and it’s a different kind of life. It completely changed everything about how we act, what we say, what we do. My dream for him is to be able to communicate with people and to express his emotions properly, and I want him to be able to learn a skill that can sustain him in life.

“Our son has high-functioning autism.”

At this point, he will be with us his whole life, and that is another reason why I’m driven to make as much money as possible because some of this stuff to help him is expensive, and I don’t want money to be an obstacle for us, for him. I used to have really selfish reasons why I wanted money: I want a nice car, I want a nice house. All that stuff changed when he got his diagnosis. So now I want him to have every opportunity to succeed and to thrive, and if that means eventually hiring someone to be with him 24/7, then that’s what I’ll have to do.

So what advice would I give to someone in my similar situation starting out? Well, congratulations, you made a decision to go back to college. Don’t waste that decision, don’t waste your opportunity. You’re among the elite who made this decision, maybe late in life, early in life, whichever, but you’re among some of the elite people who’ve decided to do this so don’t waste it.

“Go after it like you would go after the biggest plate of food you’ve ever seen. Tear into it.”

Go after it like you would go after the biggest plate of food you’ve ever seen. Tear into it. It’s not going to be easy, it will never be easy and as soon as it does become easy, you should question that. This is your career so don’t waste time and don’t make excuses. Don’t let external factors deter you. That’s what I would tell them.”

We’re in this togetherRead More of Our Stories

Erica, Columbus“Seeing myself in a cap and gown is the main goal and nothing will get in my way!”

Read Her Story

Karri, Columbus“My number one priority was to be a mom, so I got out of the military.”

Read Her Story

Sharon, Chattanooga“I was in a movie with Jamie Foxx. It came up just by accident. I played a chef.”

Read Her Story

Are you a Virginia College student, graduate or staff member?We’d love to hear your story!

“I love everything about cosmetology — hair, makeup, nails, everything!”

Camell, Columbia Student

“I want my son to know that you are never too old to accomplish any of your dreams and you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Jessica, Knoxville Student

“Being a chef is a dream of mine. I don’t want to think about what could have been. I had to take the chance.”

Fred, Richmond Student

“I’m a 37-year-old proud mother of three children and three stepchildren, a full-time student with a 4.0 GPA, and working full-time.”

Virginia, Lubbock Student

“I chose Business Administration because I wanted to fully understand owning and operating a business. I am very independent and very curious.”

Cronyn, Charleston Student

“I am the oldest of five kids. At a young age my mother got sick, and I had to step up to the plate.”

Lauren, Austin Student

“Before enrolling in school, I never really felt like I was doing what I should be doing.”

Bonnie, Florence Student

“As a single mother, I wanted to show my son it wasn’t too late to get my degree! I finished knowing I could start a career and provide for him and give him the life I never had.”

Chelsea, Birmingham Graduate

“I am scared to death to leave my classmates and teachers when I graduate because I love them and have become attached.”

Kelsey, Baton Rouge Student

“My husband passed away in February 2017. I chose the medical assistant field because of taking care of him and my elderly parents.”

Janet, Knoxville Student

“Never let anyone stop you from becoming a greater person in life. No matter what, keep going!”

Allison, Columbus Student

“There was a time in my life when I was sickly. One day, my husband took me to get a makeover. The transformation was phenomenal. I want to make people feel the way I felt that day.”

Sable, Columbus Graduate

“It’s never too late to go back and finish your degree!”

Almarina, Shreveport Graduate

“I kept telling myself I was going to do this but never did it. Last year, I put my foot down and told myself that I am going to finish school.”

Kerpernia, Mobile Student

“I gave up partying late at night to study late at night. And all the hard work paid off.”

Yesica, ChattanoogaGraduate

“I wanted to do something with my life that would make both my children and my mother proud.”

Jasmine, Spartanburg Student

“My motivation is my six-year-old daughter. To know that this little person is depending on me for everything makes me want to work that much harder and strive that much more for success.”

Lakesha, Savannah Student

“I am 53 and decided to start over in my career.”

Tammy, Augusta Student

“I am motivated by the students. I am constantly reminded that everyone is reaching for something.”

Kelly, Pensacola Instructor

“The proudest moment in my life is that after I had my son, I returned to finish my schooling.”

Ryan, Charleston Student

“I worked as a hairstylist for over 30 years and a licensed cosmetology instructor for 23 years. I know that hard work pays off in the long run.”

Meshandra, Macon Instructor

“I have completed eight years with two deployments in service to my country.”

Eric, Jackson Student

“I was 34, a single mother of three. I worked full-time and was a full-time student. My life was nonstop for two years. As time went on it became a lot easier and a lot more fun.”

LaTasha, Augusta Graduate

“I’m not a person that gives up easily on myself or others.”

Christine, Savannah Student

“I have been told by some family members that I do not have what it takes to become a nurse; they have motivated me to prove them wrong.”

Caitlin, Montgomery Student

“I chose the field I am in because I have always wanted to help people who are sick feel better.”

Kennesha, Huntsville Graduate

“Being in the military and seeing a lot of people sick, it gave me the motivation to do something challenging and be better.”

Jamar, Savannah Graduate

“I wanted better for my children and to show them there’s always something to learn.”

Laura, Jacksonville Student

“I didn't choose cosmetology, it chose me!”

Kumesia, Jacksonville Graduate