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

John, Birmingham“HVAC-R is what I’ve done all my life.”

Read His Story

Wanda, Austin“Not too long ago, I discovered I had cancer.”

Read Her Story

Angelica, Birmingham“I was laid off from my job back in 2014. It really deflated me.”

Read Her Story

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