Journey Down “Thunder Road”

The story of a probationary student

by Published: Apr 24, 2013

There is a kid who showed up to Ferris State, blind as to what his edu­ca­tional tal­ents were at the begin­ning of the 2012 fall semester.

All he knew is that he loved to write, yet he didn’t know what he was capa­ble of, espe­cially with his high school test­ing scores and grade point average.

The kid took a job at the cam­pus news­pa­per as a sports reporter, hop­ing maybe this was the out­let that would show him success.

As he began attend­ing classes, this pro­ba­tion­ary stu­dent, who had never per­formed well aca­d­e­m­i­cally, sud­denly found him­self excelling to his stan­dards. He went to class hap­pily, and took in infor­ma­tion like a sponge.

As his grades con­tin­ued to rise, his writ­ing perked up, for which he was praised by his co-workers, as he found his niche—and group of friends, for that matter.

An avid lis­tener of ‘70s rock and roll, he had the ten­dency to drift away with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, often draw­ing from “Thunder Road” for inspiration.

He saw his jour­ney through school as he saw “Thunder Road.” It was a strug­gle to coax the best out of him­self and find his way.

The walls of his dorm room were plas­tered with news clip­pings which he had writ­ten. Articles by his favorite writ­ers lit­tered his desk, higgledy-piggledy amongst the school papers that had received top marks.

Unbeknownst to the uni­ver­sity, they saved this kid from the aca­d­e­mic abyss he was headed toward.

There wont be sto­ries like this any­more, as Ferris State University is dis­con­tin­u­ing its University College Program (UNCP), which admits strug­gling stu­dents and helps them along in an attempt to give these kids one chance at a big university.

For what­ever rea­son, Ferris State has pulled the plug. The lights are all shut off and the door is locked on UNCP.

This pro­gram may not have pro­duced our finest grad­u­ates. This pro­gram may not work for all. But wasn’t it Woodbridge Ferris who once said, “I have come here to help you, boys and girls, if you will let me”?

While our UNCP stu­dents will move for­ward and one day grad­u­ate from here—leaving this insti­tu­tion and join­ing the work­force with the skills taught to them—struggling stu­dents will be given the other cheek when it comes to entry.

Though sum­mer alter­na­tives exist, the University is mov­ing away from devel­op­men­tal edu­ca­tion. While it may be clas­si­fied as rais­ing stan­dards to some, is shut­ting out those who des­per­ately want to learn rais­ing moral standards?

I, the kid, am left to my own devices from here on out. My jour­ney down “Thunder Road” con­tin­ues. I hope that the inspi­ra­tion given to me by “The Boss” could inspire this uni­ver­sity to recon­sider the stance they have taken on devel­op­men­tal education.

  • Concerned Student

    I agree with the author. I too feel that Ferris should not turn it’s back on strug­gling stu­dents. Some of these stu­dents only need a chance (and a lit­tle help) to excel.

  • Harrison Watt

    I’d like to per­son­ally thank you for your response, it means a lot.