My name is David Dudley, I started going to college at 24 years of age. Even though my desire for college started in high school, my parents were unable to help pay for my tuition despite falling above the federal guidelines to qualify for subsidies or grants. In order to receive any financial aid to begin working towards my goal of a career in education or social services, I was faced with the options of taking on unsubsidized loans from banks with high interest rates or renouncing my parents in the court of law so that my finances could be considered independent of theirs. Given these options, my hands were tied. Nobody who loves their family would ever renounce them. No one would choose to face enormous debt and the stress of multiple jobs that would take time away from a valuable education. My formal education had to be put on pause.

My desires for college education were never born from the desire for money or power or personal prosperity, they have always been purely altruistic in nature. I want to work for the betterment of the society in which we live as a city, state, and country. Now that my patience has paid off and I’m in school, I feel that I’m constantly trying to make up for the lost time of my late teens and early twenties. So much knowledge and understanding of the way in which the world works has been barred from me. This puts me further away from my goals of helping others. In the years before starting college, every action of mine has been oriented towards going to college once I’m able to receive assistance. Too often I heard that life would get in the way. I believe this is true for most and only by cultivating supporting relationships and putting my time in informal education have I been able to keep life from getting in the way. In fact, my partner during this period was able to graduate law school with my financial support and is now a public defender. She has dedicated her life to work that is under appreciated monetarily and socially, despite how fundamentally crucial public defenders are in assuring fair judicially constitutional rights of every citizen. I am proud of my role in keeping her dream alive; it really is just a shame that it took such commitment and sacrifice from both of us in order for her to play such a crucial role. Anyone who values efficiency and effectiveness will see there is a clear need for a paradigm shift within the education system as a whole.  Our country would see enormous benefits in providing as much opportunity as possible for our citizens to be as effective as possible.

This is the driving force of all I wish to accomplish through my formal education. I have lived through the shortcomings of the institutions that frame our lives, and see the need for critical changes. As it stands now, anyone who wishes to serve his community or country within those same institutions, must be willing to risk their health and relationships through taking on full time work on top of school, or risk their future with debt to the very system within which they hope to effect change. I dream of a future where these risks are done away with and opportunity lies in purely what we believe in, and the hard work we do. This is why I LeadMN.