One Year after Resigning from College

One year ago I left the University of Pittsburgh.

In early December of 2014 my mom was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. On December 22nd she shared the devastating news with me.

Two week later I went back to Pitt for the start of the second semester on January 5th.

Four days after that I had packed up my bedroom and was on a flight back home. There was no decision to be made, I knew that I wanted to be with my family.

In the time since I have had many, “when are you going back to college” discussions. I have not returned to school, and my current plan does not directly involve it.

Without school in the equation I have managed to do a lot in the past twelve months. I’m very proud of how I have grown, matured, and adapted to my new situation.

In case you were curious, here is what I have been up to during the past year.


  • I have helped my mom continue to live a “normal” life.
    • This was my number one priority when I made the decision to move back home. I wanted to do everything I could to help her lead an active, engaging and interesting life.
  • As a result I have also taken some of the burden off of my dad to aid in that cause.


  • Although I was consistent about going to the gym while at Pitt, I have become more committed.
    • I have exercised and written down every workout over the past year.
  • In an effort to save time I have prepared my lunch for the work week every Sunday.
    • This has also helped me increase my savings and productivity (more about that here).
  • I have finally achieved a 1000lb total in the three main lifts of power-lifting (bench, squat, dead lift).


  • I have greatly improved my knowledge and ability with Adobe Illustrator.
    • I have also learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.
  • I learned and now understand the fundamental concepts of HTML and CSS.
  • I finally learned JavaScript and jQuery.
  • I learned my first JavaScript framework AngularJS (more on that here).
  • Recently I have started learning Angular2.
  • I’ve also become well-versed in constructing HTML emails… šŸ™
  • I have been fortunate enough to learn how to create a “scope” document for business ideas (this is what I have learned from that so far).


  • In February I found a nice company to start my young career.
  • Within a few months I earned a nice raise.
  • I have been tasked with developing a new product, which has confirmed by desire to develop my own product someday (more on what I’m learning here).
  • I have managed the technical aspects of our company’s largest account for over 10 months.
  • I have also had the amazing opportunity to interview and on-boarded new employees (side-note, building a great team is hard).


  • I started cold-emailing business about a “hiring” solution that I envision creating in the near future.
    • I actually spent a lot of time reading, writing and organizing my thoughts before I ever reached out to any companies. This was the first time I executed on an idea with patience and diligence. In the past I would simply think of something and immediately pursue it.
  • I read and took notes on The Four Steps to the Epiphany.
    • This book has greatly shaped the way I envision starting up my own business.
  • I have been fortunate to have saved enough money to potentially fund my own business.
  • I took legal steps to kill GymBro, the first company I started while in college.


  • I traveled to Pittsburgh to watch the Arizona Cardinals lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • I bought a car.
    • I never thought I would dislike driving, but doing it for two hours a day wears you down quickly.
  • I traveled to Montreal for my sisters graduation from Mcgill University.
    • I found a way to lose my passport in Toronto (it is kinda fun being stuck in Canada).
  • My picture was featured on (thanks dad).


  • I attended my first professional conference at NationJS.
  • I failed out of the community college calculus II course I enrolled in.
    • Sorry mom šŸ™ Calculus simply isn’t my thing.
  • I applied and was not admitted to the University of Maryland school of Business.
    • This was a bummer and surprise at first. Everything happens for a reason.


  • I stayed relatively consistent and published 33 articles on this blog.
  • Somehow over 17,000 people visited this website over the past twelve months (thank you).
  • I became a “most viewed” writer on Quora, accumulating over 200,000 views on my answers.

I have been busy, and I love it.

I have written in the past about a three year “goal” plan.

I strive to make those goals a reality.

About the author

I'm Zach Shefska, welcome to my personal website. I'm currently working on CarEdge. I like to travel, write, and make pottery.