The importance of being earnest

I have visited nearly 100 career college schools from coast to coast to interview students about why SCHOOL X worked for them. And while graduates’ stories are all different … they are suspiciously the same. Bottom line … graduates wanted to do better … financially, socially, spiritually, mentally.

Stories come and go, but recently I had the privilege of meeting a new graduate of Institute of Technology in Fresno. His name was Preston Ernest and his story rang painfully true. He was a hard and dedicated worker who simply could not make ends meet working at his former job. He made it abundantly clear he was a happy-go-lucky family guy who had become miserable … and it was affecting every aspect of his life.

“I was at a low point in my life. I had a lot of pressure brought onto me … knowing what my kids were going to eat, what they were going to do. Basically I was worried about that … and it was tough for me to see my kids,” Preston said.
“When I talked to my family about going back to school they were really happy about it, especially since it would improve my life. My wife was happy. She was very excited for me and I was excited to move forward and that’s what we wanted to do … move forward. I am happier now and I have a career and not just a job, an ordinary job.”

Now, most graduates I talk to are a little gun-shy because of the television camera, the lights and semi-pushy blonde guy asking them questions. But the thing that stuck in my head is that Preston stood right up … looked me right in the eye and painted this amazing before and after picture. He was candid … he was honest … and he was a devoted father and husband.

Ironic that his last name is Ernest, huh?

This kid glowed from the inside out and he literally beamed with pride at his new gig. Not to mention, EVERY coworker that walked past Preston high-fived him or slapped him on the back. His future was so bright … it was like standing 10 feet away from the sun.

“If I were still working at the armor car business I would still be miserable every day,” he said. “I would still be stressed out every day. Eventually I could’ve lost my wife … for a careless thing. Now that I have gone to school I am a totally different person. I have turned a complete 360 degrees and I am enjoying my life, my family, my kids … I’m a lot fuller. Just all around … I’m happy.”

And that, my friends, is why career colleges work. Just ask Preston … he’ll be the first to tell you he got knocked down … but he got up again.

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What an amazing and powerful story. I wish more people would be as honest and genuine as Preston was. It’s apparent that not only was Preston’s life impacted by the decision but his entire family will benefit from this decision. I hope that his kids are able to see what a difference an education can make and follow in his footsteps.