By Tiffany Castro /
“I originally joined the Navy because I had nothing going for me. I was on the edge of homelessness,” Steven Cheeseman said unabashedly. Currently in his second year of a four year commitment with the U.S. Navy, if someone had asked him a few years ago before he signed up with the U.S. Armed Forces what his plan was for the future, he would have said he had no idea. His future was blank and he never dreamt that this is what he would be doing.
“I had gone into school originally for Computer Engineering at Seminole State College, but I lost my scholarship because of my parents’ living statuses: when I went in for my second year, I was no longer considered an in-state student.”
After that life altering experience, he held a string of jobs, but he “needed something to break out of that system.” For him, that was joining the Navy.
With his previous scholarship, he said: “I had all four years paid for me to attend Seminole State and into UCF, but I lost all of it. Learning about the schooling [opportunities that the military provide], it was a nice incentive to enlist.” [pullquote]“I would tell someone in college to work hard. Work very very hard. I was one of those kids in high school and in college who just gave half my work …”[/pullquote]
Growing up with no money and going through life’s struggles, including growing up with a single dad and getting evicted from their apartment in Arizona, Cheeseman found a new passion, a desire to make mone but to go about it “humbly.”
“I’m not trying to make money and rule the world, I’m just trying to be comfortable,” he said.
Cheeseman is not someone without regrets. Acknowledging that he has made his fair share of mistakes in school and in life, he said: “I would tell someone in college to work hard. Work very very hard. I was one of those kids in high school and in college who just gave half my work: I never did homework ever. I didn’t read a book at all from middle school and all through high school, which is something I used to gloat about and I’m no longer proud of.”
Further, he said: “I’d also say to stay dedicated in school. At the age of 21, it is easy to party your life away. I, fortunately and unfortunately, got a lot of my partying done young. At 14 I got so drunk that I almost had to get my stomach pumped. Alcohol was never a big thing after that. Stay dedicated to your work. Don’t get too distracted by the rest of the world.”
Being driven by the desire to make something of himself, and by the hope of a future family, Cheeseman encourages current students to find something they are passionate about and to stick to it.
“There’s nothing wrong with switching your major; as long as you find out what it is, stick to it and work your butt off. Pay attention to what you’re really passionate about. There’s always going to be that one thing you go back to, whether it’s out of school or in school.”
When he gets out, Cheeseman plans on coming back to Florida to gain experience in a kitchen in pursuit of a degree in the culinary arts and moving to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America which is “really what I’m passionate about.”.