Talk to Alexander Carroll long enough and his Midwestern, independent roots are sure to shine through.
He attributes a lot of his success to a work ethic born from growing up in Roscommon, Michigan, and nurtured at Albion, where he graduated in 2003.
“If you are willing to work hard, you are going to stand out like a sore thumb,” Carroll said.
“I have become the person I am because of Albion College. I feel strongly that if I went to a bigger institution, I may not have ended up on this path.”
Carroll played soccer in Albion and majored in chemistry. He’d acted in plays in high school and overheard students talking about a production that was “lacking males,” he said. After four years and several plays, a teacher told him “you’re a good chemist but I think you love acting.”
So Carroll took a big risk and moved to Hollywood. It hasn’t always been an easy road. There are tons of people with talent, dream and drive. Every year, thousands more make their way West to read for the same roles.
Some years, Carroll had to support himself making furniture or writing medical articles for the Internet. Other times, commercials paid the bills. But the dream never wavered and neither did his determination, attributes he refined at Albion and growing up in Michigan.
“It’s all about character,” Carroll told students at Roscommon High School in February, when he returned to be keynote speaker for its career day.
“People from the Midwest are a different breed and everybody out in LA recognizes it. It’s a different mentality. … Maybe it’s because the winters are so cold but we’re just tougher, I think.”
Hard work. Finding your dream. Sticking with it. Learning from the best. Experimenting and growing.
Those are all hallmarks of an education at Albion and Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities unique. Proudly smaller, they emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.
Be bold. Be different. Go independent.