Transitioning from 26 Years in Prison to Professor
In today’s extra podcast, I describe how I transitioned from a man who served 26 years in federal prison to become an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University. There are lessons in that story that anyone can use to prepare for success.
As I’ve described at length through various articles and news reports that are available on MichaelSantos.net or through a simple Google search, my transformation began during that awkward phase between the day the time that a jury convicted for trafficking in cocaine and the time that my judge sentenced me to serve a 45-year term. I made a commitment to work toward reconciling with society for bad decisions I began making in my late teens. My focus was to:
- Educate myself.
- Contribute to society.
- Build a support network.
That three-pronged strategy would guide every step I took through federal prisons of every security level. By earning university degrees, I would develop a skill set that would allow me to contribute to society by writing. In publishing, I could transcend prison walls and introduce ideas to others on steps we could take to improve outcomes of America’s prison system. By transcending prison walls through writing, I could bring more people into my support network.
I documented my journey in prison through journaling. Those journals led more people to become aware of my work. When I concluded my prison term, after 9,500 days, an editor from the San Francisco Chronicle contacted me with a request to publish a story about the journey. That front-page story resulted in more people becoming aware of me. I used that story to reach out to universities. I responded to an invitation to visit San Francisco State University. It was my first time stepping foot on a university campus. While there, Dr. Jeff Snipes offered me a position as an adjunct professor.
If you want to become sowing seeds for success, you need to plant them early. You too can overcome challenges that you’re facing right now.
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