Blake, a 21-year-old licensed arborist, owns and operates Limb-It-Less LLC. Besides managing his business, Blake works full-time for his father’s landscaping company and is a full-time Business major at York County Community College (YCCC). Blake’s education and career path seems clear, but this was not where he envisioned himself when he first started college coursework.

Starting College

Blake started his studies in UMA’s Nursing program. However, after curriculum changes to the program, he transferred to USM with a plan to be a Neo-natal surgical nurse. During the pandemic, limited clinical placements were available, so he decided to take a break and return when there would be more opportunities.

New Journey

Blake’s mother always wondered about his career choice because of his love for the outdoors. While on break from USM, Blake became a licensed arborist, started his LLC, began working for his dad’s landscaping company and never looked back. Blake said he felt like what he was doing “wasn’t work and it was like having a free gym membership.” Blake said he is “tan and happy” with his new career and that his mom was right all along.

Future Plans

Blake had been able to avoid college debt and will not have any when he graduates from YCCC in May 2025, thanks to VA benefits provided due to his family’s military service. This savings is allowing him to save money to buy a bucket truck and woodchipper later this year to expand his business.

Experience at YCCC

Blake appreciates the flexibility of online coursework because it allows him to create a school schedule that works with the rest of his life. He has been a standout on our track team and is in the process of starting an ultimate frisbee club this fall. Blake also noted that some of his YCCC instructors “have been the best he’s had at any school and has had a positive experience at YCCC since enrolling.”

Advice for Future Students

Dual enrollment is a great way to get an idea of what college coursework is like, come to campus, and explore career field for free before making a commitment. If you are eligible for Maine Free College, take advantage of the opportunity. YCCC degrees are designed “to get you what you need, to get you where you want to go, there is no sugarcoating of curriculum.”  Blake encourages prospective students to “get a head start in life and graduate with no debt.”