Student Feature: How Cody Overcame His Struggles and Became Who He is Meant to Be

When you're a kid, you have a plan and a vision of the future. You think, 'Oh, I have problems now but they don't matter. One day I'll have a degree and things will be perfect.' But life never really unfolds according to your plan.

Cody Kopp

Cody began working for the family business- a turkey slaughterhouse, when he was just 5 years old.  Growing up around adults and performing adult labor at such a young age taught him the value of money and responsibility, but it also forced him to grow up fast. "I had an adult's mindset at an early age," he says, "I worried about a lot of things that I shouldn't have worried about."

Cody was expelled from his high school for drinking alcohol at a football game.  "I was just beginning to really like school," he says, "I was always an excellent student, but I struggled with substance abuse and had depression issues." After working full-time for a couple of years Cody made it into college, but he had already gone a long way down the wrong path. It was difficult to transition back into student life.

After studying at IU for two years, Cody dropped out.  "That's when things got really bad," he says. "When you're a kid you have a plan and a vision of the future.  You think, 'Oh, I have problems now but they don't matter.  One day I'll have a degree and things will be perfect.' But life never really unfolds according to your plan." For the next several years Cody spent much of his time doing manual labor, getting drunk, and using drugs.  He forgot all of his dreams, and he forgot who he was.

Cody Sitting on a blanket by a tree outside"I could have died several times," Cody says, "After awhile, I just got tired of it.  So I stopped. It wasn't easy, but many things in life aren't easy. You just have to decide what you want. I got sick of that life. I wanted to be free, and I wanted to be valuable to society."  Now, years later, Cody has become the person he was always meant to be.  A Dean's List sophomore in the IUPUI School of Education, Cody also works for the Offices of Development Operations and External Affairs in the Division of Undergraduate Education as their senior photographer.  Cody says he doesn't regret anything. "The struggles I went through and the mistakes I made make me who I am today," he says, "but I wouldn't like to see anyone else go through a lot of the things I went through.  I did things the hard way, and I was lucky."  Cody made it a point to gain employment on campus when he began his first semester at IUPUI. He contributes much of his success to staying involved and building connections between work, study, and leisure.