A Second Chance

The Life-Changing Decision to Return to School 

Life doesn’t always go as planned. Just ask Colby Baty, who, in December 2018, will graduate from Weber State University at age 43, finally finishing what he started over two decades ago.

Colby grew up playing and loving sports, so much, in fact, that he drew up football plays for the second-grade talent show. As the years went by, he began to appreciate sports even more, not only for the physical activity but also for the life lessons, like teamwork, hard work and dedication.

After high school, Colby attended Mesa Community College in Arizona, where he played basketball while completing 27 general education credits. After one year, Colby was ready for a change. He had spent his childhood in Utah and felt it was time to return, so he moved back to the Beehive State, where he decided to take a year off school.

That year turned into another, then another, then another. A friend had helped him get a job at a car dealership. He was working full time, and college became an afterthought. “I was doing well,” Colby explained, “and was making good money at the time.”

Colby took classes here and there at Weber State, but at age 25, he had a son, and by age 28, he was a single dad. He stopped taking classes altogether to focus on his child. “I quit school, thinking I wouldn’t have time for it,” he said. “I wanted to give my son all of my love and attention. Looking back, I realize children also need a role model, someone they can look up to and aspire to be.”

To provide for his son, Colby left the dealership for a job that offered better benefits. He wasn’t fulfilled by his work as an assistant manager, though, always feeling like something was missing. He had conversations with his son over and over again about the importance of education. “But, I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching,” Colby said.

So he decided to do something about that.

With the help of his parents, Colby enrolled once again at Weber State and soon found a love for history. “The professors in the history department are some of the smartest people I know,” he said. “They encouraged me to keep moving forward. If it weren’t for them, I might not be graduating.”

Colby will earn his bachelor’s degree in history in December 2018, and is working on finishing his teaching certificate. His dream is to teach high school history and coach basketball.

“I am grateful to my parents and my son, as well as my professors, for encouraging me to stick with it. I can’t wait to go every day to a job I love.”