In the fall of 2003, I returned to school for the first time in many, many years. My previous attempts at higher education were mixed, but in total, unsuccessful. I had less than two years of college credits accumulated, and they were scattered across several areas — too many were redundant or otherwise did not count toward anything. It was rebuilding my life and nearing my 41st birthday. I was also, for the first time, “clean and sober,” a story for another time, but a key part of that rebuilding process.

My goal was not to complete a bachelor’s degree, I was only shooting for an AA degree so…