Category Archives: #ivy2ivy



Casey Bridgeford

Ten years in, and a very windy road to look back on…I made the decision to return to school. It felt like a big gamble at the time. What if I wasn’t able to succeed in the class? How was I gonna pay for it? Where would I find the time between working full time and raising a family? How would others perceive me once it was obvious that I didn’t have a degree?

These questions plagued my mind, but didn’t deter me. Without answers, I looked for answers to more important questions, like: What if I made some life-changing contacts? What if I got a job making a livable wage? What if I could use a degree plus experience to do work I was really interested in? What if I could get my family off of food stamps? What if we finally had money to buy nice things outside of tax refund season? What if I became an expert at something? What if new doors of opportunity are opened up? What if…

Out of all the questions I had, I never wondered about “what if I get straight As?” What if community college landed me on the local news? What if I apply and get accepted to an Ivy League school? What if my whole family is featured on the from page of the Philadelphia newspaper and I get to do my first TED talk? I never wondered, what if I get a job at Wharton and a contract with Microsoft?

I never wondered about being scheduled to travel to Africa’s biggest music festival with a class full of some of the world’s smartest people. I never wondered how my future identity would be shaped by the things I learned about South African, Japanese, Nigerian, Zimbabwean, Ghanaian, Central American, and American history.

I never realized that I needed this experience to really see the world. Not like the television portrays the world, but really see it. I now am seeing the pressure that the “model minority” mindset places on Asian Americans. I understand the pressure of the Nigerian young adult that has to have the painful conversation with their parents that they wont be enrolling into med school, but would rather study sociology. I now understand that the gnawing feeling that I was missing out on something; was real. I have been missing out on the real world, and school is introducing me to it.

My turning started with a big decision and continues with an even bigger journey. This upcoming trip to Grahamstown is just one of the many milestones of of my life’s journey, but learning about the country, history, and context of one of Africa’s youngest democracies; is bound to make this milestone one of the most important of my life’s story.

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iLL Brief: One semester in… So, what does iLL do when he goes back to school? Last year, I left my safety zone! I left home, quit my job, gave up Facebook, left friends and my old neighborhood. I had no idea what lied ahead. I had no idea that I would end up moving 3 times in 6 months, become the mentee of a top exec at the largest software company in the world,  experience the pressure that led 2 classmates to commit suicide this year, rock my first college house show, drop way below a 4.0 gpa, visit the Council on Foreign Relations, meet an US Ambassador for a briefing at United Nations, and deliver my first TED talk.

Ups…Downs…And all around…All the highs and lows gave my psyche whiplash from the sharp turns of this ride. However, I am on this ride to get the prize! I needs that degree! This new year has given me a new outlook. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do have one thing figured out… This will be the making of me!


Check out a few things that made this year special for me.

This selection of shots and photo’s don’t tell the whole story of ‘When iLL went to school.” To keep up on what I am seeing and how I am doing, stay tuned to the following social media sites: (HERE)
Instagram: @illholiday
Twitter: @classofrap

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Lord, please make my path straight!


This journey had been the most tear jerking, terrifying, confusing journey I have ever taken. It has made me question things I was sure of like destiny, purpose of faith, identity, and whether I had the capacity to make a wise decision.

It is in the middle of this chaos that I say, Thank God for allowing me to stumble upon this path. I have had to use my faith daily, ask for help, seek guidance, study my surroundings, and trust that there is no thing on earth that could seperate me from His love.

The result of all of this has been a clearer view of how God takes a flawed man and works miracles through their life. My faith has been strengthed through Him showing me impossible situations, and the working the impossible before my very eyes. I am coming to the conclusion that God has been taking care of me in spite of some seriously flawed tendencies. That gives me more joy than I can express. I am so happy to be on this journey. O how amazing God is

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Going Away Party: You’re Invited!! #ivy2ivy

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Order tickets via Eventbrite:
Eventbrite - Casey's Going Away Party

Come Party With Casey One Last Time!
Free Admission + Free Food

For more information on Casey’s big move, visit www.gofundme/com/ivy-tech-to-ivy-league.

iLL Holiday Going Away Party

Also, check out this short blog article about how I got from community college to the Ivy League:

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#ivy2ivy: 5 things I did to get into the Ivy League

 Tried and true techniques for breezing through community college
written by: Casey Bridgeford

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Casey Bridgeford Smile

1) Start fresh: My high school years were over a long time ago. Even though I wasn’t the best student in high school, I had another chance to do things right. Community college was my fresh start and it could be yours if you let it.

2) Study: In high school my grade point average was 2.8. No elite school is actively recruiting students with a below B average. If you want to increase your gpa, study 3hours for every class session you have. (if a class meets more than once, then allot 3 hours for each session)

3) Grab a friend: If you are struggling in a class, people say to talk to the instructor. This works. But if you grab a classmate, you may get more help on your schedule. I always made friends with peers to get through material with people who were learning material at the same pace I was. My grades are proof that this worked

4) Don’t give up: Nobody sails through community college unscathed by personal drama or academic fatigue. When your crisis comes, don’t give up! Pressing on makes you a better student. I faced fatigue, boredom, and a declining work ethic all at the same time. Even though I earned the first D of my college career during that semester, I finished my community college career with a cumulative grade point average of 3.6.

5) Take a break: I don’t mean an academic break. I’ve seen many peers take a semester off that eventually turns into a year and on some occasions, a decade, off. To stay refreshed, skip a study session every now and then to take a long walk, enjoy a movie, or go to a live show. If you never do what you want to do, you’ll begin to despise the schooling process. I always felt refreshed after

taking time to write a blog post.

Casey Bridgeford is covered by Ivy Tech Magazine

Casey Bridgeford is featured by Ivy Tech Magazine

Casey Bridgeford has launched a fundraising campaign to help defray some of the costs of his move during his studies at UPenn. To learn more, visit

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