Ankeny DMACC is a wonderful taste of Iowa by Joseph Provenzano

Last fall I began taking photography classes here at DMACC as a returning student.  I love the program and have learned a lot about photography and myself.  One of the reasons I chose to come back to DMACC is that it offers a great sample of Iowa personalities.

You will meet both the fresh out of school and the returning student.  Others may be looking for a life change while some may be finally starting the life they have always wanted.  Some are at a crossroad trying to make their choices and a few have no clue at all.  During my tenure at DMACC I’ve seen the whole mix and have loved every part of it, unfortunately my time is running out again.

I first stepped onto the DMACC Ankeny campus in the fall of 1994.  It was a different place back then as there were fewer buildings on campus and there wasn’t a windmill or a watershed pond.   Parking was still a problem, Dean Jim Stick was teaching, there weren’t online classes, and I had a lot less gray hair than I do now.

The Navy taught me everything I know about electronics and computers so I decided to pursue the English degree I had always wanted.  My plan was to get my Associates of Liberal Arts here and then transfer to Iowa or Iowa State to finish my English degree.

I have learned that the varieties of people who attend DMACC are a reflection of all of us at different stages in our lives.  I thought my plans were in place, but what I didn’t know was I was one of the clueless.  I was chasing a childhood dream of being a writer and DMACC was meant to be a stepping stone.

I left DMACC in 1997 after getting my AA and transferred to ISU.  I lasted a year before I was burned out and not really sure what I wanted to do with my life.  I left school and got a job in the interim working at CompUSA as a computer tech.  I worked there nine years before leaving.

My uncertainty led me to Australia for three months as I toyed with the idea of moving overseas.  When I came back home I took a few contract jobs.  I even worked security for a little while.

Then I met my wife and along came my kids.  I realized it was time to settle down and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.

Computers didn’t seem to be my cup of tea anymore and I was getting tired of the fast-paced changes that come with them.  It was time for a life change so I decided to return to DMACC.

I know I was one of the clueless my first time here.  I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I really didn’t.  This time I was ready, my focus was to find something I like and want to do for the rest of my life.

I decided photography was what I wanted.  I enjoy it, I have fun with it, it’s something I want to keep working on to become better at, and it makes me happy.  You really do need to love what you’re doing in life to be happy.

Now I am one of the many at DMACC working on a life change.  I thought I had all the answers once, but I didn’t.  That’s why I came back.  You may think your life is uncertain or that you have it all figured out.  It doesn’t matter as long as you are trying.

Life is full of surprises and mysteries.  Things you will never expect, events you cannot wait for, and people you will never forget.  I made friends my first time at DMACC who I still talk and hangout with to this day.  I’ve met even more since I’ve been back and hope to keep in touch with them also.

Baz Luhrmann, director of “Moulin Rouge,” produced a music piece titled “Everybody is Free (to Wear Sunscreen).”  It contains a few lines I think fit life at DMACC perfectly and I want to share them:

“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.”

DMACC is a wonderful taste of Iowa.  The many people you will meet will help shape your life whether they are teachers or fellow students.  Don’t forget that you are one of them.

Enjoy your time at DMACC.

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