It was one of those moments that changed everything.
“It was one day during the summer of 2008,” said Michael Davis, a Tulsa, Okla., native and graduate student in communication at Pittsburg State University. “I was working 12-hour shifts digging ditches for a casino. I came home, and my friends were waiting for me at home. But they were in school, just living and enjoying the summer.”
Davis, who wasn’t attending a college or university at the time, had a moment of deep self-reflection.
“I had on dirty jeans and work boots,” he said, “and I was like, ‘I should be doing more than this. I know I’m destined to do more than what I’m doing.’ I kept selling myself short.”
From that moment, Davis decided to follow his dreams and fulfill the destiny that he knew awaited him. And that journey led him to PSU, where he received a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2011.
“I had a few friends who played football at Pittsburg State, and they encouraged me to check out their games and the university,” Davis said. “They took me around campus, introduced me to a few teachers, and I really enjoyed myself. Next thing I know, I applied and got in, and it was all a wrap from there.”
While he admits to being “sheltered” from the university environment before attending PSU, Davis said being on campus opened his eyes to the possibilities that higher education can offer.
“It really opened his eyes to a different world,” he said. “You really just have to learn how to work hard and deal with all different kinds of people. When I got to campus, I noticed that everyone is real nice and friendly, and teachers actually want to see you succeed and care about you.”
Davis, whose emphasis is broadcasting, secured an internship at a local radio station in 2009. When the internship ended, he was offered a fulltime job on the station’s staff.
He’s now pursuing a master’s degree, and he credits PSU with changing his life for the better.
“There are ups and downs you have to fight through,” he said, “but there is a tremendous support system here. You just have to be willing to step out of your box a little bit. I did that, and I’m a better man for it.”
After graduation, he hopes to return to the Tulsa area and work in broadcasting. One of his main career goals is to highlight the positive news in his hometown community.
“With the education and knowledge I received at Pittsburg State, I know I can take that back to my community and shine a more positive light on Tulsa,” he said.
Davis also said he would encourage anyone who’s pondering going to college to give it a shot -- especially at Pittsburg State.
“Come out here and try it,” he said. “Come out and be a Pittsburg State Gorilla. There’s nothing like it in the country. I promise you.”