Vicente Sanchez

"For the first time in my life, I was fully committed to something and excelling."

At 21 years old, I dropped out of state university with a GPA hovering around 2.0. I was totally burnt out. Three years of declaring "undecided" had defeated me. So I did what any 21-year-old dropout would do: I moved to Florida. I was living the dream. I would work hard as a landscaper during the week, and hang out on the beach on the weekend. I loved my job. Two of my favorite coworkers were from Cuba, both around 70 years old. They were strong and weathered men that knew everything about everything! Best friends from birth that never separated until the Cuban Revolution, they found themselves fighting on opposite sides. One of them became a political prisoner, while the other fought shoulder to shoulder with Ernesto Che Guevara. They would answer every nosey question I had. “How did you get captured?” “What did Che sound like? Was he really like they depicted him on the Motorcycle Diaries?” “How did you two reconnect after the revolution ended?” “How did you get out of Cuba?”

One day, the tables turned on me, and they started asking questions. Until finally one of them asks, “Why did you choose to be a landscaper?” I didn’t have an answer. The only reason I could think of was because I dropped out of college and this was all I knew how to do. Then the conversations turned into all the things they would do if they grew up in the U.S. and were able to go to school. They were confused by me. “Why did you choose to be a laborer instead of studying so you could work in an air conditioned office?” It got to me because they were right. The world was at my feet and I was wasting time. I had zero social mobility. My income dictated my diet: the dollar menu at Wendy’s and tuna fish. The tipping point came when I couldn’t afford to fix a broken taillight on my Jeep. I felt stuck, but strangely motivated; I had unfinished business.

The relief I felt from dropping out of college now became a bitter taste in my mouth. So I did what any frustrated 22-year-old landscaper would do: I got a loan and enrolled at Florida college for the 2006 spring semester. Luckily my GPA was just above the minimum acceptable average. The campus was amazing, and the town was fascinating but the tuition was outrageous! After completing one semester, I moved back to Colorado and enrolled at the local community college. I had a three-year plan and Business-Finance was my major. Why Business-Finance? Simply because it didn’t require Calculus! I was not only motivated, I was getting straight A’s. For the first time in my life I was fully committed to something and excelling. Was it my passion? No. But it was setting me up to have flexibility in every aspect of my life. I graduated in December 2009 from the college with a cumulative GPA above 3.0.

I am forever grateful for those conversations I had on those blazing hot days with my coworkers. I realized that not everyone in this world can choose to do what they want or enjoy the freedom that the U.S. provides. Here I am at 31 with good career, but becoming bored with Finance. I did some research and have become fascinated by logistics, procurement and supply chain management. So I did what any bored 31-year-old professional does: I enrolled at SNHU to obtain my IMBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management.