How I Gave College A Second Chance

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Written by Damon Enkeboll

If you’re anything like I was a few years ago, you might think that college is not for you. Maybe you think it’s a waste of time or money, or are questioning what you would want to get a degree in and if you would ever use said degree. 

Trust me, I get it. I’ve been there.

High school was a struggle for me. I had a hard time passing classes and paying attention. I held general disdain for education, and disliked the idea of spending at least four more years in school. I thus decided to attend an arts college; that way, I could study something I was somewhat interested in and earn a four-year degree that would appease my parents.

In college, I did the same thing I did all the way through high school: I put in minimal effort and just tried to pass my classes. My grades were poor, and my attitude towards being in school was even poorer. When a death occured in my family, I decided to drop out in order to focus on my loved ones. Looking back on this, however, I think I was simply using this as an excuse to not have to be in college anymore. 

A couple of years of working retail jobs for minimum wage passed–until I ended up at Enhanced Prep. At this time, I had little direction and no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After watching a show on YouTube about hamburgers, I discovered a man named George Motz. Motz was introduced as an “American Hamburger Historian,” and, at that moment, it clicked for me. I knew that that was the path I wanted to take. I wanted to teach people about the history of American Cuisine. I want to show people why we eat the things we do and why regional specialties are so different across the country. 

Now I had a plan: to become a food historian. So where does one start with this path? I had to face the hard truth that I would need to go back to college. I was unable to make a large move for college, so I opted for online universities. I discovered that Arizona State University has a full four-year Bachelor’s degree program for history entirely online. I applied, got in by the skin of my teeth, and was lucky enough that some of my credits from my art college transferred. 

My second try at college could not be more different from the first. As of writing this, I just finished my second full semester. I ended my first year on the Dean’s list with a 4.0 GPA, something I could have never expected to do in the past. The difference was not taking online classes, which I had done before. The difference between my first and second attempts at college was having something I was passionate about and wanted to learn. I have a goal, and it now feels like each course I take is one more step towards that goal.

I know there are many students out there who were a lot like me. Whether you’re in high school and not sure if you want to attend college, or you’re a college student who has no idea why they are attending college, I know the feeling of not knowing what to do. I’d encourage you to think about your passions. Once you know what you’re interested in, look for a degree program that can help you explore that interest and provide steps for a viable career path. School is a lot more fun when you are learning about what you love–and when you have a sense of purpose. 

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