What challenges are at this time’s school college students going through, and what motivates them to earn their diploma?
Impressed by the long-running StoryCorps collection, WUWM invited Milwaukee Space Technical Faculty college students to speak about these questions with somebody who has helped them on their schooling journeys.
First up is Troy Muns, who’s going again to high school at age 54 to turn into a substance abuse counselor. Muns was launched from jail in January after serving time for theft. He says he’s spent a complete of about 30 years behind bars and now desires to decide on a special path.
He spoke with Ann Burbach, a former school counselor and present volunteer on the MATC faculty-run FAST Fund. The FAST Fund helps college students, together with Muns, with emergency monetary assist to allow them to keep enrolled at school.
Their dialog, which has been edited for readability and size, is transcribed under.
Ann Burbach: What made you resolve to enroll at MATC?
Troy Muns: Effectively, as everyone knows, being natives from Milwaukee, you’ve the town police division, you’ve the Milwaukee County jail and you’ve got the Milwaukee County Courthouse and you’ve got the MSDF, which is Milwaukee Safe Detention Facility, which is a jail positioned downtown. And we even have the morgue. And I believe these choices should not good choices for me. So I selected MATC.
That was one of many motivating components that helped me make this determination, in addition to shedding my mom whereas I used to be in jail, helped me to begin to make modifications in my life. To be sincere, I all the time thought that I would not make it — I wasn’t value going to high school. However the nearer I acquired to MATC, it was just like the extra braveness constructed up for me to stroll in them doorways.
Burbach: So what was it wish to be in school? I do not know something actually about your academic background.
Muns: Effectively, I will be sincere. My curiosity at school began taking place on the age of 13 as a result of I used to be within the juvenile system and I used to be simply in a foul state of affairs and I did not have curiosity at school anymore. And on the age of 15, I dropped out of highschool at tenth grade, and I misplaced curiosity. I obtained my HSED (Excessive Faculty Equivalency Diploma) in jail in ‘91. However after that I misplaced curiosity in, , any sort of schooling.
However this time in my incarceration, after I misplaced my mom, , and I used to be seeing a therapist and, and he or she says, that you must learn this e-book. And I began studying a self-help e-book and it was so impactful, it was like studying the autobiography of my life. You already know, there was different individuals who went by what I went by they usually had been exhibiting you a approach out.
Like I say, I am 54 years previous and I used to be 53 on the time. And after I walked within the [MATC] doorways it was intimidating as a result of there have been no older folks there, ? I acquired by it although. In some way I acquired by that have.
You already know, I believe my willpower — the identical willpower I had after I was in my habit to get that drug, I make the most of that willpower to get my schooling, just about. I simply modified the angle, my narrative in life. And, , and that is not a straightforward transition as a result of, , being a sure approach for 35 years of your life after which robotically turning it the other way up on his head — it’s totally — I haven’t got a phrase for it. I haven’t got a phrase for it. I simply know it is not a straightforward job.
Burbach: Have you ever had different challenges that you’ve got confronted being at MATC?
Muns: Oh, in fact. I’ve confronted many challenges, what I name adversity. My first day, in English class, my instructor, she’s 53 and he or she says, properly, I am most likely the oldest in a classroom. And I says, wait a minute, no you are not. I am 53, too, so you are not alone.
However I’ve to talk on my English instructor. She was the primary one that advised me: you’ve the kind of power that something you do, you are going to succeed. And that sort of pierced my coronary heart as a result of just about my complete life, nobody ever advised me that.
So whenever you go to MATC, there isn’t any telling what you are going to obtain. You simply acquired to go. You simply acquired to get in there.
Burbach: And you bought to ask.
Muns: And you bought to ask.
Burbach: As a result of I typically say to college students, I am unable to inform by taking a look at you —
Muns: What you want.
Burbach: What you want, what assist you want, when you’ve got questions, that you must let me know
Muns: Yeah, properly, here is the factor. Lots of people, even myself, which are prideful, do not wish to ask for assist. Take an opportunity. Ask for assist.
Burbach: And I used to be simply going to say, primarily based on what you mentioned, I believe you selected the suitable profession. So in reaching out for assist, you might be additionally serving to folks or can be.
Muns: So I initially went to MATC to be a diet and dietetic technician. However one thing tugged at my coronary heart. The Lord touched my coronary heart. He says, ‘That is not what I need, that is not what I need for you, you didn’t undergo 30-something-years of your life to be a nutritionist.’ And I says, ‘What?’
So what I did is I modified my main into AODA (alcohol and different drug abuse) substance abuse counselor and human providers. So I’ll flip my ache into function and to assist any individual else get out of habit and whoever struggles with psychological well being.
That psychological well being piece is vital as a result of I’ve discovered which you can’t take care of psychological well being by your self. I used to be ashamed that I had psychological well being points. And that prevented me from getting assist.
You already know, and psychological well being is a serious factor that is occurring at this time in our nation that must be addressed. And providers have to be utilized so folks can get assist as an alternative of incarcerating them. You already know, I imply, there’s numerous incarcerated folks in jail who’ve psychological well being points.
So my habit was a symptom of my psychological well being as a result of I had, [when I was] 9 my mother married a man who was an alcoholic and really abusive. And he tried to — he did abuse her for a few years, in addition to myself. So I finished feeling emotions on the age of 9. I did not know what it felt to be cherished. I did not know what it felt to be wished or wanted. And I used to be alone. However with all of that, saying that I am sitting right here at this time, I am not a sufferer. I am a survivor.
After which an individual I met who’s a therapist. She’s a good friend now. She says you are not surviving, you’re thriving. That upped the ante. As a result of generally in life we’re simply holding on to surviving. And that is not sufficient. You already know, I acquired to proceed to push myself to thrive in life as a result of that is what it is about. Having fun with life and being comfortable.
Our collection that includes private tales from MATC college students will air every Thursday in Could. The collection was produced with assist from the MATC FAST Fund.
Have a query about schooling you need WUWM’s Emily Recordsdata to dig into? Submit it under.
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