The Rollercoaster We Call College Pro… I Mean 'Life'

Guest post by Marcel A Krawczyk originally posted at as “What College Pro Can Do for Me”
The year was 2004 and I was a third year computer science major having spent many nights banging my head against the wall coding in C++ for class and scripting in PERL for my software engineer internship. I thought to myself as I studied while watching TV, surfing the web and listening to music (a typical college student regime for learning), “College is a lot of work and I don’t even know if this is what I want to do the rest of my life”.
Each summer that I returned to my software engineer internship I felt like James McAvoy from the movie Wanted. I knew being in front of a computer, in a cubicle, in an overly air conditioned building through my 40’s was not the life style I wanted. I wanted more and I needed to experience more to discover what I wanted.
That semester I made a significant decision, probably the biggest decision I had made up to that point in my life, and I can only tell how impactful that decision was in the time that followed. I declined my offer to return for a third year internship and accepted an offer (after a grueling interview process that reminded me of pledging for a fraternity – not to be confused with “The Fraternity” from the movie Wanted) to manage a College Pro franchise.
My thoughts that day were “AM I CRAZY?! Business is not my major; I just passed on a ‘safe’ career choice; and my parents are flipping out!” But, oddly, I felt really good about my choice. I was excited!

Before I go on, here are undeniable truths about College Pro from my experience:

  1. College Pro is truly a no-fluff real life experience.
  2. Failure is a possibility – not the I-got-a-bad-grade type of failure.
  3. Success is also a possibility – the I-just-made-a-lot-of-money-in-one-summer type of success.
  4. Most College Pro franchise managers end up somewhere between truth number 2 and truth number 3.
  5. Everyone walks away with an experience and an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses and how to address them.

Since College Pro, I have worked for two startups as a director in marketing and strategy, lead a team in a national marketing competition having placed 2nd in the nation, lead teams in business to consumer sales, currently growing my own tech marketing agency calledLittle Jack Marketing and PR, and I’ll be turning 30 sometime in the next few years.
So, What Has College Pro Done For Me???
My story as a College Pro franchise manager isn’t one of great success but it is a story of what the majority of people and students will go through. College Pro provides a structured system of support and guidance from their experienced management which gave me the opportunity to explore and get hands on with my own personal development. My irreplaceable takeaways from College Pro are:

  • Experience — 
    I wanted to get out from behind a desk and the franchise manager position at College Pro got me out from behind a desk. I hired and trained employees; I built relationships with customers; I developed strategies and tactics which I could apply to all aspects of my life; I learned the true meaning of a-lot-of-work; and, most importantly, I learned the true meaning of failure (a lot is learned when you truly fail. Look at Steve Jobs’ history for example).
  • Leadership — 
    With the coaching and direction of College Pro’s caring and experienced management I hired and trained over 30 employees in 3 years, doubled the size of my business from year 1 to year 2, and began coaching other franchise managers. While still in college, I was responsible for other college students’ income and tuition (that’s a heavy responsibility). Most importantly I learned how to lead myself. The constant opportunities to develop as a leader gave me an advantage when graduating college. College Pro was there to make sure I had the guidance, tools, and resources not to fall on my face. The rest was up to me.
  • Community — 
    There are few things you truly succeed in on your own. The majority of life’s accomplishments are a result of the people you cross paths with, mentors, friends, family, acquaintances, teachers, experts in the field, and so on. The people that I met while at College Pro have impacted my life in more ways than I can comprehend. This community isn’t limited to the College Pro staff but includes the students who worked for me, the homeowners who trusted me, the local towns that accepted me, and the countless people I met in passing. Building community has since been one of my priorities for every venture I have been involved.

I spent 3 years as a franchise manager and still to this day I am involved with the development of the individuals who make the daunting and rewarding choice of managing a College Pro franchise. What College Pro truly did for me is present opportunities with resources for me to further my education, invest in myself, and invest in my future.
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