Madison College has changed my perspective

Mike Alexander, Copy Editor

This is the first day of the rest of my life. At least, that’s what I told myself the second I stepped off the stage at my high school graduation.

It was a very emotional time for me and my friends; four years of studying, slaving over papers, detentions, scraping by on homework and countless hours of spiritual decay finally paid off. Every one of us had big plans for the future. From the complex to the simple, nearly all of our plans had the same structure: move out of our parent’s house, got to college, party every available second and land our dream job.

Nearly two years have passed since the moment we left our childhoods behind and walked head first into our adult lives. The more ambitious – and privileged – of my classmates are currently out of state living out the dreams they once made to the letter. Some of them are even traveling Europe at this very moment. The others are here in Wisconsin nearly finished with bachelor’s degrees, ready to graduate with jobs already lined up for them in Texas, California and elsewhere.

I must admit that my friends’ lives look pretty cool from the sidelines (i.e. my parent’s house). But how far had I come with my life since graduation? The Marines was a dream of mine that sunk almost as soon as it set sail; asthma and migraines aren’t easily overlooked qualities of the few and the proud. I played with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur but quickly realized that any business of mine had about as much luck as the Hindenburg. With two dreams in half as many years stomped out, I became content with a dead end job that demanded almost no thought but provided a steady income. It was more than enough to sustain an unskilled – and no longer ambitious – person like myself.

While my old cohorts were traveling to new and exotic towns or countries, I barely traveled outside my own house. It wasn’t until a year ago that after stepping back and gauging how far I had fallen that something needed to be done. “But where should I start?” I thought to myself. An average student graduating high school with the least amount of effort didn’t exactly have a sturdy foundation to build on. An upscale university was way out of my paygrade and any good job requires a diploma.

I found a medical program at Madison College and applied as quickly as I could. I passed my COMPASS with flying colors but my days of slacking off in high school finally caught up with me. I would need to take prerequisites before my program would consider accepting my application. Summer is not an ideal time to take a prerequisite chemistry class, or any class for that matter. I was considering skipping, but the thought of living in my parents’ house for the rest of my life quickly sobered me up.

I did not like my first experience with Madison College, I adored it. The condensed eight week summer chemistry course was the first class I had ever taken that I actually wanted to be on time for. The work was challenging, but not impossible. For the first time I felt that what I was learning was applicable to the “real world.” I devoured lecture notes and textbooks for any scrap of knowledge that would help. The feeling of solving hard problems was stimulating and fun, plus, the grades were their own reward. Before I knew it, my chemistry class was over; it was but a taste of what Madison College had to offer. My ambitious fire has been successfully relit by this spark of knowledge and achievement.

I wanted more. Immediately following the class, my advisor signed me up for prerequisites on my next semester.

Almost a year has gone by since my first college class and I have since been accepted into my program. Looking back on myself now, I realize that I am not the same unenthused teenager that graduated from high school two years ago.

Today I am not, and may never become, a solder or a businessman and I accept that. Two years from now my program will be completed and with a little determination I will be working in a hospital (hopefully one of my choice). The work ahead of me will be challenging, but not impossible. While in the past I looked for answers in the present, Madison College has helped me find answers for my future.