I wasn’t the best student in high school. It took me an extra senior year to even graduate. My teachers often told me I was smart but didn’t apply myself. I had no plans for college, as I barely made it through high school. I did odd jobs here and there to make ends meet. When I was 25, I made a bad decision to go the route of being a thief. Obviously, this was not the brightest move! After I got arrested, I contemplated life and why I chose to do that. I went to see Dr. Laferriere, a psychologist. During our sessions, she commented on how smart I was and wanted to know why I didn’t go to college. I answered, “no one will accept me.” Her reply was, “If I could get you into college, will you go and apply yourself?” I jumped at that chance and said yes. She was a professor at Olivet College, and the college was running a program at that time (I don’t know if it still exists) to take a chance with people just like me. I had to write an essay on why I thought I would be a good candidate. This was in late summer, and all the “spots” were already filled, but Olivet decided to take a chance on me. So I, a 25-year-old, who really needed to be on campus to keep my head straight, sold almost everything I owned and went to Olivet College.
The experience there was interesting! I was a late admit, so I had the smallest “room” in Blair Hall. I don’t remember the number, but before I graduated, I’m pretty sure they turned it into a closet. On my first day, I met up with someone that was also in the same situation as me about being given a chance. He ended up being one of my best friends ever. The program we were in was very strict on the classes we took the first year to give us the best chance for success, so he and I were in the same classes. The one I remember the most was writing. The best part about it was Rob (my friend), and I would often collaborate on the topics we would write about. It was a blast! Fast forward five years (five because I was so close to a triple major) I graduated. Two exceptions occurred in order for me to accomplish this. One was we had to create a class to satisfy the requirements because the two majors were similar. I worked with the staff, and we created a Sound Reinforcement 101 class. I was also short one world history class that wasn’t being offered until the following year. UGH, I didn’t want to go to college for six years! I was told I could take the class if the professor were willing to teach it that year. I wish I could remember his name as he really changed my thoughts on History! It ended up being one other person and me in the class. The professor had us each take a chapter to read (I would take chapter 1, and the other student would take chapter 2). Then, during the next class, I would talk about what I read for 15 min, we would all discuss it, and how it relates to today, then the other student would do the same with his chapter. It was crazy fun, and I learned more about history than I ever have before! Now I live on the Discovery and the History channels.
Not only did I graduate, but I also did so with a 3.87 GPA. Remember, I barely graduated high school, with a GPA too low to mention. I moved on with life and am now a Senior DevOps Engineer with Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan. Almost daily, I think of how lucky I was to have Olivet take a chance on me! The College gave me the drive and education I needed to be a happy, successful person and not in jail, which is where I was headed.