About three weeks after graduating West Seneca West Sr. High School in 1989, I joined the United States Navy. For four years I was stationed in San Diego, on the USS Ranger (CV-61), docked on Naval Air Station North Island. Before setting sail for my first six month cruise, I did some research on the local colleges in the area, to see if I would pursue my college career somewhere in Southern California. I thought I would eventually attend San Diego State University, maybe after attending Grossmont Community College to get my grades up. It didn’t work out that way. I did however took some college courses on the ship while deployed, provided by Central Texas College. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but, in all fairness, I was under a lot of stress working on the flight deck, refueling aircraft, right in the middle of the Gulf War. I returned to classes on the second cruise where I did much better. I got a decent overview of how college work is assigned and graded. My over all GPA from this era was under 2.0. These grades have haunted me ever since.

After getting out of the Navy in the summer of 1993, I was a mental case, for whatever reason (it might have been do to my drug and alcohol abuse at the time). I wanted to go to college but I didn’t have my faculties in order. I messed up a wonderful marriage, and an opportunity to be a major part of my daughter’s life. I had no plan beyond survival for a few years. My father convinced me to go to Florida to get myself in order. A few years passed by, my life was finally in order, so I decided to pursue an Associates in Arts Degree at Pasco-Hernando Community College (now a State College). I completed my AA in 1998, still with no idea what I could use it for. I got a job in a retail distribution center and stayed there for six years. While working there, in 2000, I attempted to finish a Bachelors of Arts Degree for Mass Communication, at the University of South Florida, but only completed one semester with a GPA under 3.0. in 2003, I tried again pursuing classes at PHCC, to get a AS in Computer Science, and once again, only for one semester, withdrawing from two out of the four classes do to work. This would be my last attempt at college in the state of Florida as I moved to New York in 2005. I made my way back to my hometown of Buffalo in the Summer of 2010 where I am now. I tested the college waters again attending one semester in the Fall of 2010 at Bryant and Stratton, where I took four classes and aced it, with a 4.0. Again, I never completed their program for a BA in Business Administration.

Fast forward to 2018, I decided to return to college, but with more determination and a better plan to get it done. [ Read my article on my new educational journey – Why I Am Returning to College Now? @shawnpgreene ] Thankfully, under the Vocation Rehabilitation program with the Veterans Administration, I was given another chance. I have returned full time and have been blessed to have straight A’s, with a 3.9 GPA as of today. I attend the University at Buffalo and am pursuing a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Media Studies, with a concentration in Film Production, with a minor in Theater. I love the process of completing these classes, even though I am an old man, who is old enough to be the father of my classmates. I’ve met some really talented young people and some wonderful faculty and staff members in both the Media Studies and Theater departments. Some of which I have competed against at the Buffalo 48 Hour Film Project [ Buffalo 48 Hour Film Project ]. One alumni had a film submitted to my film festival [ Great Lakes Christian Film Festival ]. My plan is to complete the program in 2020, but, at this point some classes have not been accepted from the Florida colleges to count towards UB’s program.


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