Second chance at college helps Hamilton cultivate his future

Curtis Hamilton, ’26, says Albion has helped him sew seeds of success

October 9, 2023

Curtis Hamilton, ’26, an environmental studies major from Warren, is settling into his life as a sophomore at Albion College.

He is a community assistant at Mitchell Towers, involved with AmeriCorps, works on the student farm in Whitehouse Nature Center and is a running back on the football team.

In his free time he enjoys cooking food he has helped grow on the farm. Zucchini is one of his favorites.

Curtis Hamilton, far right, enjoys working on the Albion student farm

“I like the hard work that comes with farming because it helps you become more self-sufficient,” said Hamilton. “You prep the soil, fertilize it, plant the seeds, weed and watch things grow.”

As with farming, Hamilton has learned that personal growth can be hard work as well and requires the same level of determination and attention.

Hamilton first came to Albion College in 2020, but things did not go well.

“When I dropped out of school I was overwhelmed,” Hamilton said. “It was during COVID and things were out of whack and you could not do a lot of things. I felt it was not the right fit for me at that time.”

Hamilton spent the next two years bouncing from job to job trying to find where he fit. “There was factory work, fast food and construction jobs,” he said.

Then one day Hamilton realized that if he was going to have the life he wanted, he would need to go back to school.“I looked at the other people around me at these jobs and saw that they were at a point in their lives that I didn’t want to be. I felt my future was very limited if I continued on this path and that I needed to make a change,” he said.He came back to Albion, but this time COVID was gone, the campus was open and Hamilton found resources to help him make adjustments, specifically, the College’s federally funded TRIO Student Support Services program.

“TRIO has helped me in many ways,” Hamilton said. “They have helped me plan for the future and provide information about other resources on campus that can help me, like the Writing Center.

TRIO works with first-generation college students, those with physical or learning disabilities and others, to provide success coaching, peer mentoring, academic tutoring, career selection, financial literacy and graduate program guidance.

The best part about TRIO is the one-on-one sessions with the advisor,” Hamilton said. “I look forward to those because it is refreshing to be able to connect with someone and know that they care about you.”

But it was not just about the changes that occurred in his absence from Albion or working with TRIO, Hamilton said he had changed as well.

“I had to do some growing up and apply myself more,” Hamilton said. Working on the student farm at Albion has helped him with that.

He applied himself by working all summer helping tend the student garden and caring for the vegetables.

“I was able to cook my own food each day with food from the garden,” Hamilton said. “It was better than what you would find at the grocery store.” Hamilton’s favorite dish to make is sauteed zucchini with rice and mushrooms.

He also likes to watch anime in his free time.

“I like the fight scenes and the way the characters live their lives,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton is focused on living his life, but there are still challenges in his second life at Albion.

“Finding my type of people and my type of friends can be challenging but the culture here at Albion is very inviting. There are so many good things here at Albion. The faculty and the opportunities,” Hamilton said. “I feel like Albion can be a place that will help me succeed in my journey.”

For anyone thinking about dropping out, Hamilton advises, “I would tell them to keep going and take things one day at a time. Believe in yourself!”