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What’s the difference between victory and defeat? How about success and failure? The answer: grit. The same grit Carlos taps into each and every day while he pursues his college degree.
Scary. Lonely. These are just two words Carlos uses to describe his life hustling in the streets of inner-city Chicago, selling drugs after high school. “I didn’t really have much guidance or support,” he said. What changed the course of Carlos’s future: the birth of his first child. “What changed me away from the streets is when I met my wife and we had our first child,” he recalls. “‘Dad’ is more than just a word – it’s a feeling.” The father now of three children, Carlos would love nothing more than to spend his days hanging out in the park with their dog and whipping up a delicious batch of pancakes. But there was more work to be done.
“The pressure of having kids and knowing you have to provide for them is scary,” Carlos says. “But it’s all worth it. You have something to live for.” And to better provide for his family, Carlos made the decision last year to enroll for a college degree from Strayer University. During his days, he works in the pit as a mechanic. Every chance he gets – however small – he devotes toward studying business management and entrepreneurship. “When there’s not a car over my head, I’m doing homework,” he says. “I want to obtain a degree that will help me advance and get my own business. I’m interested in businesses that help people.”
What Carlos enjoys most about Strayer University is the opportunity he has to balance his education with his work as a mechanic – and his role as a father of three. He can take classes anytime, anywhere. And he often communicates with his professor over his laptop, which makes it easy for him to get the support he needs. “Sometimes, it’s really, really hard,” he says. “But my professors send me emails, they call me up.” As one professor recently told Carlos: “You’re a student that has greatness in you.”
Currently holding A’s in all his classes, Carlos is now a far cry from those mean streets of his earlier years. “I’m really proud of myself because I didn’t think I could do it,” he says. “Without Strayer University, I would not have the same hope that I have now. The future’s looking bright. I’m blessed to be where I am right now.” Learn more about Strayer University and how you can achieve your educational goals.