From Depression to Community College to Target School & Beyond

Nick Naylor's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 252

Hey everyone. This past spring I graduated from my local community college and was accepted into 2 of 3 schools I applied to. After receiving endless amounts of useful advice and information from this community, I thought it would be a good time to formally introduce myself and hopefully share any information that could help any other young students / prospective monkeys.

Background

A little background about myself. Graduated from HS in 2012--was a terrible student for the most part. Graduated smack dab in the middle of my class (of about 450), despite taking honors and AP classes throughout. Had no real extracurriculars to speak of; a year of swimming and a year of lacrosse. At that point I was fed up with school, so I took 2 years off.

Selling Drugs, Partying & 2 Years Off

I like to say I spent most of that time traveling, but in reality it was mostly selling drugs, endless partying, and a strict adherence to being unproductive. During the tail end of that experience, I began to really take a look at what I was doing with my life. Binging on women and drugs was fun (especially for someone who got no play in high school) but it left me feeling exceptionally empty and unfulfilled.

Role Model?

Eventually I got to a point where I was doing acid (or some other psychedelic equivalent) every other day, for periods of a month at a time. I could begin to feel my mental acuity fading, speech becoming slower and more deliberate, littered with frequent pauses and stutters in an attempt to find the right... word .In addition there was a metric fuck-ton of weed being smoked as well, which isn't such a bad thing on its own, but definitely helped encourage a feeling of lethargy, among other things. During this time I began feeling suicidal, as any time I was sober (or high, for that matter) I couldn't shake this idea of self worthlessness- I was nothing more than a drain on my single mother, I had failed to live up to the expectations of my academically-outstanding sister, and I was in the running for being the worst role model to my younger brother.

Farmer For $15/hr

After coming through an extended period of depression, working odd jobs in construction and farming, I looked around at my coworkers and decided I didn't want to be stuck working in the heat for 12 hours a day for $15/hour for the rest of my life. My desire to learn and grow built up over that last summer, and at the end of August I enrolled in my local community college.

School

It took me two years to finish up my associate's degree in economics. The first year I spent getting acclimated to school, enjoying some responsibility once again. By the beginning of my second semester, I began taking things more seriously; reaching out to teachers for advice and mentorship, signing up for clubs on campus, emailing local accounting firms, investment managers, whatever I could find. I started to look at prospective transfer schools and decided to shoot for the moon--when I began my last semester, I applied to an Ivy League school (think Brown/Dartmouth/Cornell) and two excellent universities. I was rejected from Vanderbilt, but accepted to the Ivy and the other target. Ultimately I chose the non-Ivy, due to the reputation of its business school and more sociable/enjoyable environment.

The Future

Now I'm getting ready to move in and begin life at my new school. I've continued to reach out to people with even the slightest relation, and I can already tell it will pay dividends come recruiting season. Despite not having the relevant internship experience of my peers who have been at a great school for two years, I'm feeling confident of my own ability, and of the endless resources my school provides. Most of all I'm going to try and balance having fun with being proactive in my banking pursuits, so I guess we'll see how it goes. I realize this turned into an extremely long post, but feel free to ask me any questions you may have, whether it's about dealing with depression, drug abuse, networking as a student (from a CC), or anything else.

Thanks!

Comments (29)

Aug 1, 2016

Transfer student here too - best move I've ever made. Best of luck with everything.

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Aug 1, 2016

Found your story very inspiring. Best of luck!

Aug 1, 2016

Good to see you turn it around, SB +1

Best Response
Aug 1, 2016

Very inspiring. I have a similar story. Graduated high school in 2011 slightly above average for my high school (212 in my graduating class). I then went to a decent university but I failed out eventually because I was too busy partying (acid, molly, blow, tons of booze/weed/loose pussy) and too hungover to get up for class. I took two years off to work (retail/food industry/tourism) and support myself and my lifestyle. At first this was great because I had a ton of fun for the first time in my life (I was kind of a loser in high school and I come from a very conservative family; so I was an awkward virgin who couldn't hold a conversation) After working shit jobs for shit money with shit people, I came to the realization that I did not want to continue this life. I wasn't going anywhere! I was simply existing! One of my roommates at the time was a finance major and he would always talk about the work he did. This sparked an interest in economics/finance/business for me. Over the next year I continued to work full time and took night classes to get my GPA up and so I could have more credits. I applied to several colleges last summer for full time enrollment and most of them rejected me. They could not get over my abysmal cumulative GPA and the fact that at my first college I had a record for plagiarizing a paper (I panicked at the last minute before a paper was due because I did not want to fail the class; I got caught and failed anyways). I drove out to visit several colleges (some that were hours away) to try to convince them to let me in. A few schools were impressed my "redemption story" so I got a few acceptances. Target schools were wayyy out of my reach. I chose to go to a large non-target university in the northeast that has fantastic resources, great sports teams, and a social scene that I knew I could fit into. I came in as a Junior knowing no one and knowing dick about how to get a job on Wall Street. I did not get one of those high flying Wall Street internships that everyone on this website is obsessed with as I was still figuring out how the process worked as well as adjusting to a totally different environment. But I got a 3.5 GPA, networked a ton with alumni, and I am interning at a local investment firm this summer ($400 mil AUM) where I am actively involved in the investment process (picking individual stocks, bonds, and preferred shares). I also have great friends and an awesome girlfriend. I now know what it takes to make it and the steps I need to take. These past few years I have learned a ton about the markets, careers, and myself. I may not have the pedigree or background as a lot of these Ivy League brats on here but I have a self-awareness, passion, and work ethic that I hope will carry me into my dream of eventually managing my own L/S Emerging market focused hedge fund.

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Aug 1, 2016

Transfer student here as well now got a full time offer at a Big 4 during my internship. Don't see many CC people on this site. If I could offer unsolicited advice to another transfer:
-Use your schools job/internship search engine. Seriously, it's great and how I've landed my 2 internships.
-Don't put community college on your resume. Most people won't get it and think you're less than because you did half of your education at a CC. Although depending on your interviewer, it may be worth selling your story.
-SOOOO many more doors will open once you land that first internship. People are much more willing to help you.

Best of luck & please message me if you have any questions or just wanna talk .

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Aug 2, 2016
mrosales:

Don't put community college on your resume. Most people won't get it and think you're less than because you did half of your education at a CC.

Cannot stress this enough. However, there is one acceptable way to phrase this. (see below)

As for your "story" You need to take the high road and lie, lie, lie. Make up something really good to fill those two years. I would use something to the effect of, "It was always my dream to go to an Ivy leauge school, and since I was going to have to pay for it myself I too two years off to work odd jobs and take night classes."

Aug 2, 2016

Keep it up.

Aug 2, 2016

@Nick Naylor" Good post. I'm curious to hear more about your stats, admissions essay, etc. to get in the target. We all know it is more difficult to transfer into a target so I'm interested to hear what gpa you had at the CC. Also, to you or anyone else who transfered to a target: Do you guys feel at all disadvantaged to the kids who started at targets and are able to get more exposure early on in their freshman-sophomore year? Because BB SA recruiting is very early nowadays.

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Aug 3, 2016

Thanks. As far as admissions went, I had a 3.8 GPA coming from my CC, which honestly made me feel nervous going into the whole application process. However, for all of my major courses (and courses for my last 2.5 semesters) I received 4.0s, so I think there was a visible trend exhibited.

Obviously I'm a bit biased, but I think my essays are where I was able to stand out the most. I've always enjoyed writing, and so the ability for me to craft my life's narrative in a way that would appeal to adcoms came quite naturally. I focused on much of my post-high school life; working blue-collar work, my periods of reflection, and then the tenacity of my determination when I switched gears.

As far as extracurriculars, I worked as an English tutor at my CC, as well as part-time with my father at his small business. All in all I was working full-time hours as a full-time student, so I think that played a big part in my acceptances as well. There were a couple of clubs I was a part of, and some very strong recommendations from professors.

I am definitely feeling disadvantaged to kids who have been at the school for 2 years-- however, in the grand scheme of things I am feeling very lucky to be in the position I'm in. Sure, I'm behind the students who have networked with alumni over the summer and have utilized the resources our school provides, but I have confidence in those same resources, and my own ability, to get some interviews.

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Aug 2, 2016

It's funny because I think I actually gained my depression by attending a target school. Then again, the school is known for having the most depressed students and worst cases of grade deflation. Life has twists for everyone.

Not to distract from your laudable achievement though. Congrats @Nick Naylor and all the best in your future endeavors.

    • 1
Aug 12, 2016

.......................

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Aug 2, 2016

MS'd for the "virgin at 20" not for you being a dick.

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Aug 2, 2016

Are u stupid? It's not like I can change that lol. I'm ugly , physically unattractive, and technically deformed.

when it comes to women, only looks matter, so u either have it or u don't. Unlike op who apparently does and romanticizes a story of his doing drugs and fucking sluts for a while until he decided to go to school. No offense to him, glad to hear it's all worked out, but it isn't some noble inspiring story by any means.

    • 1
Aug 8, 2016
post-mortem capital:

I'm sure you will give me monkey shit for this , but I don't really find this inspiring. I didn't read any major trauma and you even said you were "binging" on drugs and girls.

To me it just sounds like a guy who decided to dick around and then stopped being a fuck up.

I'm at a similar point in my life regarding depression, but sadly it's warranted due to being a virgin at 20 and having gone through some trauma. Not sure what I'm going to do with my life now, as it makes it very hard to want to work when you are ugly and a virgin lol. My life might end up having peaked at 14. From getting into Phillips Exeter to dropping out of college might become my reality , I'm not sure.

But "congrats" I guess for just deciding to stop being a fuck up.

No worries-- different strokes, right? Sorry to hear about your recent bout of depression as well. Have you gotten that checked out at all? If you have clinical depression, I'd suggest finding help, be it through a doctor, shrink, or some combination of the two. Unfortunately it's a cognitive disorder that is basically omnipresent, albeit at varying magnitudes, so learning to deal with it as soon as possible is the best advice I can offer.

And as someone who is currently experiencing depression, it seems a bit callous that you can say to another depressed person they just "decided" to do, or stop doing, something. If you're truly depressed (hopefully not), you'll realize the immense difficulties-- at times-- of doing something as simple as getting out of bed.

Aug 2, 2016

Great story and congratulations. Your testimony is just further confirmation that we aren't bound by our circumstances. If we really want something and are willing to put it the effort then we can accomplish anything.

Aug 3, 2016

Same story here man. I lived in my truck from 2010 - 2012. Sobered up via AA, (I'll have 5 years sober come September) Went to CC, got a 4.0 and transferred to a flagship state school. Now I'm interning for the internal M&A team of a F100. And I'll be graduating spring 2018 and I'm looking for IBD SA positions for next summer. The world is a crazy place, don't forget where you came from, but always look it build into something better. Honestly I don't regret a thing, I think its something I needed to learn and I needed that extra time to mature and grow. And now that I've gone through all of this I can help other people, I'm not saying I've made it, but I'm definitely on my way.

I wish there were a way to reach out to people in the industry who have been in my shoes before, that way they can related and provide some guidance.

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Aug 2, 2016

Really like this thread. AA has changed many lives.

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Aug 3, 2016

You know it man!

Aug 5, 2016

Which schools did you get into?

Aug 5, 2016

Very inspiring story, goes to show that we aren't bound to our circumstances and we can make a turn around and achieve anything if we put our mind to it and work hard. Congratulations and goodluck in all your endeavors

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Aug 6, 2016

Great story man, I know many others on here (myself included) may be silent about similar stories (to varying degrees of course) but can relate.

The lower the rock bottom, the higher the sky is afterwards. It's an incredibly strong driving force that remains in the background forever, and influences everything you do afterwards. Almost a blessing in disguise if you will.

    • 1
Aug 8, 2016
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