My Story Started at GRCC: Drowning in grief and faced with uncertainty, GRCC helped Eric Weaver change his life, work around the world

Eric Weaver smiling.

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

When the best-laid plans go astray, sometimes it means you should take a closer look at them.

Eric Weaver — or, rather, Eric Weaver’s mom — knew exactly what he was going to do after his senior year at Northview High School: “I got accepted into the University of Michigan, but my single mom didn’t make enough salary to send me there. Instead, my grades earned me a full ride to General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). I had wanted to go to U of M for computer science, but the closest major GMI offered was electrical engineering.

“My mom’s plan was for me to graduate from GMI, get a sweet gig at GM, and ride off into the sunset as an engineer in Detroit.”

His estranged father’s suicide during finals week of his third semester at GMI sent him into a spiral of grief, and he failed three of his five exams.

“Even knowing about the loss, GMI pushed me out, and I came back to Grand Rapids — just a kid at 19 with no idea of where to go, what to do, or who to be,” Weaver said.

He took on several part-time jobs and began night classes at what was then Grand Rapids Junior College. He immediately felt at home there.

“I explored marketing, creative writing, became involved in Student Congress, and started writing for The Collegiate,” he said, adding that a favorite memory is interviewing psychologist Joyce Brothers for GRJC’s Great American Talk Festival. “I also got to take a deep dive into computer science — my original area of interest.”

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