Importance of the Straight-A Guide Program
by Colin Walsh
November 5, 2012
I wanted to write a piece to explain how The Straight A guide has impacted my life. It has helped me in ways that I still cannot totally see at this point in time. I do know, The Straight A Guide serves as my compass in prison, providing me with all of the tools that I need– not only to survive– but to thrive in prison.
Coming into prison was a totally new experience. It was like nothing else that I have experienced in my life. I was absolutely blind. I didn’t know what to expect or where to turn. I was thrown into an oblivion at the crossroads of thousands of different roads. I had no clue which direction to go. There we literally thousands of people trying to pull me in hundreds of different directions. At this point, my future was very unclear. Many questions were unanswered. I asked myself, “where do I go from here? What am I supposed to do for the next four years?” These questions were answered by the Straight A Guide. The guide gave me the light to see where I was going.
I began the program only six months after beginning my prison term. I began the program by reading all of Michael’s books, based on his experiences in prison. By reading these books, Michael set a standard to live by, and served as an person to emulate. Without Michael serving as a role model, I would have easily fallen victim to the people who were around me. I would have followed the wrong path, as many do. By emulating Michael, I automatically started to travel down the right path.
Next in the program, I began answering the questions presented in the workbook. By answering all 300 of these extensive, thought provoking questions, I forced myself to practice introspection. This is what the famous philosopher Socrates termed, “knowing thyself.” Looking inside of myself allowed me to see myself from the outside looking in. I was then able to see my motives, and what made me tick. Thus learning more about myself than ever before. The questions also forced me to consider things that I would have otherwise ignored. They forced me to plan for my future. It taught me to set goals, and use this time that I was given to begin reaching those goal. By answering all of the questions, I created a roadmap leading me to the future, and that future is success. These questions also brought light to the dark aspects of prison. They forced me to open my eyes to the environment, and forced me to realize my surroundings. This helped me to navigate safely through prison, avoiding the many traps and pitfalls of prison. Most of all the questions helped me think clearly, helping, and teaching me in many ways through prison.
Now, even though I finished the workbook, the program isn’t over. The program will stick with me for the rest of my life. As I continue the remaining portion of my prison term, I will follow the track that the Straight A Guide has laid out for me. The questions that I had coming into prison are now answered. I am no longer blind. The path is chosen. The Straight A Guide has answered these questions, and has removed the curtain from my eyes, uncovering the path to success. The true impact that the program has had made is inexplicable. Without it, I don’t know what would have happened in these past two years.