Why I'm in College
The Joshua Nichols Story
As I began to consider this project I had to stop, reflect for a moment, and honestly ask myself what the best explanation was for my being in college. My mind ran wild on the topic for a little bit like a rabbit weaving it’s way along different trails seeming to have no real course but eventually winding up at it’s destination. Not unlike that rabbit I eventually decided upon this particular direction because I liked where it was taking me in my mind.
My journey to college started last spring when the company that I had been working for the past six years was forced to lay me off due to a lack of work. I was a little shocked when that happened because I had felt fairly secure in my position. I was third in seniority in the land surveying department of a moderately sized, and seemingly very stable engineering firm. There were many people who would go before I would, or so I thought. In the real world where corporations have to consider the bottom line I was considered redundant. There were younger, more motivated, and also cheaper people who could do my job, so I was let go with a simple, “Thank you for your time with us”.
My first course of action was to do nothing. I had been given a generous severance package, and was eligible for unemployment and I had been needing a vacation anyway so why not just kick back, and wait for the economy to turn around? I went to the Kentucky Derby as my little treat to myself and thoroughly enjoyed. I also visited my brother in Colorado went off-roading.
I didn’t need to worry about work because I knew that when summer rolled around that work would pick back up and the company I had worked for would call. But they never did. I started to hear rumors from people I had worked with in the past. Things were getting worse not better. Friends of mine who were still working for my old employer were working less, and less hours per week and there just didn’t seem to be a light at the tunnels end.
By the first of December the idea was starting to filter into my brain that I might not ever work as a land surveyor again. What was I going to do? I had started surveying when I was right out of high school and I knew how to do very little else. To me there seemed to be only one good answer. I had to go to college and learn how to do something else so that I could make a living. If I had a college degree I might not have lost my job in the first place. I most likely wouldn’t have even been a land surveyor for all those years if I had gone to college right after high school.
At first the idea of going back to school after a twelve year hiatus was not just intimidating but terrifying. I was afraid I would be so out of the loop that everything would just go right over my head. But, I steeled my nerves and pressed on. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I also felt as if it was my only option.
To summarize, I guess you could say I wouldn’t be in college without a terrible economy driving me to it. You could argue that if the current government administration, or even the previous one had handled things better I might not have lost my job. You could say that I was left no choice, and that is most likely true but the bottom line is I am thankful that these things have happened in order to give me the need, and motivation to better myself and get out of an industry that is unstable at best. I consider my job loss to be a blessing in disguise that has set me on a new and exciting adventure of study and learning.