D’Agostino: A passion for writing changed my career path

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In my family, college was never a guarantee for anybody. In fact, it was very rare when someone from my family had the opportunity to further their education beyond high school.

So when I graduated high school, I had a decision to make. I could continue school and work my way to a degree, or I could go directly into a job field and begin earning a living. 

The decision was tough and I had a magnitude of people close to me pushing me in all different directions. I was listening to everyone’s advice and not just sticking my nose in the air, but when it came down to it I knew the decision was ultimately mine. 

I took the time to listen to EVERYONE’S advice because I knew how big of a decision this would be. That included my drunken uncles at family outings belligerently telling me “A degree is worthless” or “College is a scam, I never went and look at me.”

Yes, look at him. Working manual labor seven days a week. 

Unfortunately, I really enjoyed making money and didn’t want to wait four years to “start my life.” I decided to dive head first into the construction world and leave my education behind me. I found a private contractor to work for in Philadelphia and immediately got to work. I was tearing down houses and rebuilding them all over the city seven days a week.

I’m not going to lie, I thoroughly enjoyed this type of hands-on work, but deep down I had much finer visions for myself rather than being stuck in a dead-end job my whole life. 

I decided to enroll in community college while still working part time with my construction gig. At first I felt really out of place, but once I settled down and got into a grove I realized how much I was actually learning in my classes. I fell in love with the idea of broadening my horizons through a college education and decided that I really wanted to get a journalism degree.

Writing has always been my strong suit in school. Throughout high school I was never interested in any of the classes I was taking besides my writing classes. I felt as if most of them were pointless for life beyond high school, but unlike most people I loved writing papers. It just came naturally to me. I just needed to find a way to utilize my writing abilities in a way I was passionate about. I really enjoy writing about sports, but ideally, I want to use my writing to help people in any way possible. 

I’m still working construction while in my final year at Rowan University and have obtained more information and writing skills than I could’ve ever imagined. I don’t look in the past for one second and think what my life would be like if I took the “other road.” I was able to get a taste of the working world directly out of high school and it really made me realize how important a degree would be for my future. Now, not only can I build you a house, but once I’m finished I can write all about it.

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