Justin Duino Photographer

When I first applied to come to the University of Nevada, Reno, I was in the midst of making my startup news publication profitable. This business had never been a part of my plans but fell together rather quickly in the late part of my junior year of high school. The only problem now was that I had this entirely different opportunity for myself which changed how I looked at college.

Growing up, I had two college-educated parents who always pushed me to do my best in the hopes of getting into a good college and starting a career after graduation. After starting my own business, though, I began to wonder if I needed a degree. Here I was, a 17-years-old kid who had only been driving for over a year, and I had to make this life altering decision on which direction I would take: college or take a risk and continue growing my company.

College always seemed like the smarter choice to make. I was always told that college would be where I found the one thing in life that I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life. Instead, for me, it was another four years that I would be stuck in classrooms instead of out trying to be successful at something.

If I chose to stay in my hometown and continue working on my business, I knew I would not have the support of my parents. My father, being a business owner himself, loved that I had found something that I enjoyed entirely but viewed it as a hobby and much less than a full-time career option.  My mother, a woman who loved college for the education and breezed through it, saw my business as a waste of time. Obviously, I did not have the support from my family if I were to choose that option.

I knew from the beginning that if I did go to college, I would be going to the University of Nevada, Reno. It had been my number one choice for years and was an easy choice. In the fall of my senior year of high school, I applied. When submitting the application, I knew this was not the option that I wanted to take. I knew that it would slow down my business growth. I knew that I was putting my life on hold to please other people. There just wasn’t anything I felt like I could do.

I ended up starting my education at the University of Nevada, Reno as a business major thinking that I would be able to use the skills gained to help better my news publication business. I quickly learned that there is a huge difference between starting and running a business and the “skills” that the business degree taught you.

While struggling with everything that goes into being a business major, I ended up having to shut down my business because I did not have the time to run everything while working another job and going to school full-time. Luckily, I was hired to work as an editor at another publication thanks to my experience of running my site. Additionally, getting recruited to write professionally was the push I needed to switch majors. Instead of hating my time at college as a business major, I became a journalism major where I get to learn from the brightest minds in the field and better myself for future jobs that I will enjoy.

My life took a lot of detours in a short period, but I was able to make the best of each one of them because I chose to embrace them. Selecting a path that would ultimately be the demise of my own business is the hardest choice I have ever made in my life, but because I did so, I opened up an entirely new part of my life. A part of my life that I was slowly getting to as a business owner, but because I took a different route, I got to a lot quicker.

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