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Perseverance: from a ‘bad situation’ to being a Bobcat
Student veteran Edward Baiocco found his way through the military
Edward Baiocco, 30, a Wilmington, Delaware native, freshman civil engineering major at Quinnipiac and student veteran, wants people to know that when life gets hard and you are feeling down, push through because anything is possible.
Baiocco attended Thomas McKean High School, home of the Highlanders. During his senior year at McKean, Baiocco dropped out of school and according to him, he wasn’t a very good student. He began to consider dropping out during his sophomore and junior years, but was officially out of school for senior year.
After dropping out, Baiocco began working with a construction company that built decks and additions to homes. He later went back to school to get his GED diploma.
After watching his father and grandfather serve in the military with admiration, Baiocco decided to follow in their footsteps and join. He began accumulating college credits in the military, as boot camp credits transferred to college credits.
Baiocco began boot camp in the Great Lakes. After, he moved to Meridian, Mississippi, where he worked as an aviation maintenance administrationman.
“I took care of logbooks for aircrafts, kept track of parts, dealt with work orders for maintenance and things like that,” he said.
From Mississippi, Baiocco was stationed in San Diego, Oklahoma City and Jacksonville, Florida.
During his service, he was motivated by having some type of career.
“I found out quick that it wasn’t going to be easy to get a good job making good money, you know, right out of high school,” Baiocco said, “So, I decided to go do something to change my life. And because my father and grandfather had pursued it, too.”
Now, he is motivated by being the best version of himself that he can be.
“I just want to try to improve,” Baiocco said, “Every day I try to do something that can push me another level higher.”
Despite serving in the Navy for eight years and traveling the world, Baiocco said there is still a lot he has to do in his life, including finishing school. He describes being a student veteran as an “interesting” experience.
“Sometimes I can feel out of place… but I know what the end goal is and I know that it’ll be beneficial to me,” Baiocco said.
He benefits from getting different perspectives of the younger students. As any soldier does, Baiocco gained a lot of knowledge and many skills during his time in the military.
“You learn a lot of discipline in the military,” Baiocco said. “It just gives you (a) more well-rounded outlook on things. You can work through situations, solve problems and stuff better.”
He said he was not disciplined in high school.
“(The military) made me a more well-rounded person,” he said.
Baiocco has been reacquainting himself with civilian life for a year and a half.
“It was a little different at first,” Baiocco said, “You’re used to wearing a uniform every day.”
Baiocco is proud of the gratitude he has received since returning home..
“It makes me happy and it makes me proud. I’m very proud that I’ve served my country,” he said.
According to Baiocco, Quinnipiac’s Student Veterans Organization (SVO) does a lot for veterans on campus. The organization provides a lounge just for veterans, along with a network between other veterans on campus, he said. SVO also helps veterans get involved with activities.
Tyler DuBois, a fellow member of the SVO, met Baiocco last year at a transfer student seminar. DuBois said they talked about their hobbies, hockey and their military experience. Since the school year started, DuBois said he and Baiocco have become good friends.
Outside of school, Baiocco is a fan of Philadelphia sports teams, specifically the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I watch a lot of hockey, play a lot of hockey,” Baiocco said.
He also goes on walks and spends time with his two dogs and girlfriend. Baiocco is a big hockey fan, and is co-captain of the recently-created Student Veteran Intramural Hockey Team, according to DuBois.
Off the ice, Baiocco expresses himself through his tattoos.
“I have a lot (of tattoos) that have to do with family. And I have a lot that do with Navy and everything,” Baiocco said. “(The tattoos are) just my journey through life.”
Baiocco said his goals now include finding a job where he is truly happy and very involved. He wants to feel like he is part of a team.
He has admittedly made notable changes in his life. From the streets of Wilmington to the Navy and now majoring in civil engineering, Baiocco has taken the initiative to turn his life around.
Baiocco is not the only person that notices his motivation. DuBois said he sees Baiocco strive towards becoming a civil engineer.
Baiocco advises younger students to not think of college as a chore and be enthusiastic about learning. He said not to be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things.
After coming from what he calls a “bad situation,” considering the track he is on, Baiocco advocates for perseverance.
“What I’m trying to say is… anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” he said.
DuBois said Baiocco’s personality is what makes him so valuable to the community.
“His military experience, maturity and willingness to learn makes him an excellent student and a valued member at Quinnipiac,” DuBois said, “I know Eddie would help anyone out who needs a hand, and is a hard-working individual.”