Graduating from college, a little later in life than usual

At the  wonderful party over at Sweet Water Organics last Wednesday night — the next party/fish auction will be happening on the 30th — I was moved by a conversation with my dear friend (James) Godsil. He encouraged me to share the story of my recent graduation from college.

You see, there’s a trend or a tradition on my father’s side of the family, which I have proudly upheld, of going to college a little later in life, and doing very well at it once it’s been undertaken. While many of my high school classmates promptly went to college and have ostensibly found success in life, I didn’t follow that path. Although I did start college immediately after my high school graduation, the effort I made waas half-baked at best. I was more interested in playing the guitar and chasing girls than going to college, and so after a two semesters with poor attendance, I dropped out.

Today, more than sixteen years later, I turned in my last paper and returned my last library book to UWM. While the commencement ceremony was on Sunday, I didn’t completely finish until today. (Actually, I still owe the bursar’s office forty cents. But I’ll take care of that next week.)

Now, adding sixteen years to when I finished high school places me squarely in my mid-thirties. Olde Godsil asked me to share this story with you, in case you have a child who’s plodding through college or who’s struggling to find their self in life. Give them time, give them room to breathe and grow. With any luck, they’ll get through it when the time is right.

I’ve overcome some pretty huge odds in the past, and got this far. And it all seems very easy now. And hey, I did it! Your daughters and sons can do it too — hopefully a little sooner than I did. And so can you. I’ve reinvented my life a few more times than I can easily count by this point. Didn’t always want to. But I’m glad to be here, in Bay View, trying to help it and our great city of Milwaukee reinvent and renew themselves.

I feel like this should be a cheesy info-mercial at this point: “If Haas can, so can you!

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

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