When I turned 18, my parents expected me to go to college- it was the only option, the only way to be a successful adult. I’m a 2nd generation Italian. My mother and grandparents came over to America and bootstrapped themselves from nothing, so needless to say, I would be the first in the family to get a degree and it was kind of a big deal.
We were middle class, but not rich, so I had to borrow to afford a $44,000/year RIT tuition. It’s what everyone else does, right? $44,000 might as well have been a million dollars, because in my mind they were equally unfathomable- with only $300 in my checking account, I had to make a decision whether or not to borrow $176,000. Makes sense.
No one could tell me why I was wasting my creative energy, focus, and life on something I didn’t want to do. Classes didn’t hold my attention- I could teach myself more in an afternoon than I would learn in a 10-week class. My classes appealed to the lowest-common denominator. The bottom of the barrel.