I grew up in New York City in a close-knit Irish-Catholic neighborhood. You either grew up to do the exact same job as your father, or you took every civil service exam you could until you landed a good job working for the city. In my working class neighborhood, “other people” went to college, i.e., doctors, lawyers, etc. You worked hard at your job, and that was enough.
But it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more from life, so I tried college. I took a few classes, but I fell back into that working class mentality and dropped out of school.
Then, I started working with music and alternative-fashion clothing companies. I eventually worked my way up and was employed by some prominent designers. However, I always hit that ceiling everywhere I went, because I did not have a degree. I told myself it didn’t matter, so I would go find another company and start all over again. I moved around the country for a few years and ended up in Nashville.
One night, I was updating my resume. I was employed at yet another dead-end job, just earning enough to pay the bills. It was late, and I was hoping to find work doing something I enjoyed, something I could be proud of doing. I thought my resume was impressive, but I looked it over and realized it was just years of jobs. I worked for almost 20 years doing whatever I could to pay the bills. I had a lot of potential, but no real direction. That night, I realized the only reward for my hard work was just more hard work. I knew that not only did I need to go back to school, but I owed it to myself to go back.
That was my moment of truth.
I’m now at Belmont, majoring in Public Relations Management with a minor in Marketing. Belmont has had a profound impact on me, not just career-wise but on a personal level as well. The people at Belmont are extremely supportive and show genuine concern for me, my education and my future.
On a personal level, I have become more focused on where I need to take my life. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished so far at Belmont and have so much more confidence. I’ll be the first person in my family to graduate from college, and I’ll have opportunities that were never available before to me. Most of all, I’ll be able to make a better life for my wife and child!