One year ago from today I walked out of a classroom that was filled with my instructor, the head of academics for my Audio Production degree and other lead instructors from various department. Eyes still watery I walked to me car and sat there. Ten minutes before I presented my final portfolio presentation for graduation. The last barrier to getting my BS in Audio Production from the Art Institute of Las Vegas. Not too surprisingly to me I was told that my portfolio wasn’t going to cut it and that I would have to return the following quarter to repeat the last class and re-present my portfolio for graduation. Those word brought tears to my eyes however because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to return the following quarter.
I was tapped out. Three kids at home. Their mother a stay-at-home mother by necessity due to the high cost of childcare, I was the sole bread winner in the family. Working 40 hours a week, family responsibilities, five people living in a small two bedroom condo, a girlfriend that was growing weary of me either being at work, helping with the kids, or on the computer working on school work, I couldn’t afford to come back the next quarter. To top that I had previously met with my schools career advisory and he told me that to be honest most of the positions that he could get me were entry level and that would mean taking a pay cut from my job working front desk at one of the strip hotels in Las Vegas. I was dejected and lost all motivation to put up with the late nights and long hours to get a degree that was literally going to go up on the wall and do nothing for me in the next few years. I was tapped out.
When I first stated school, I didn’t have any little children at home and was thinking that I could up root and move to LA to pursue a career as an audio engineer. at graduation time I had a three year old and another one on the way. This made up rooting and moving to the far too expensive LA out of the question. Now there were issues like finding a job for their mother, and child care and finding a place for a full family instead of a shack for myself (I can live anywhere). With that out of the picture and finding out that Las Vegas’s audio market was mostly convention audio/video work or live sound work (both of which I was not passionate about, I wanted to work in a studio and be involved in the creative process), I felt lost. I had to re-evaluate my life and what moves I was going to make to change my life and the lives of my family for the better.
I was looking online at careers that paid well that didn’t necessarily require a four year degree. The last thing that I wanted to do was go back to school again for some more years. Computer programming kept coming up in the search results. I thought to myself, “I’ve always been a tech geek and I used to mess around with some HTML and CSS waaayyyy back in the days of MySpace to modify my simple profile, maybe I should look into this.” I looked at boot camps but there were not any boot camps in Las Vegas and the closest ones in California were way out of my price range. I already had an account with Lynda.com that I used to pick up new audio mixing, mastering and video editing skills while I was going to school. I poked around on there and found a ton of programming tutorials. The only issue was were to start!