Profile Story: Alberto Zacarias

It is an absolute terrible idea to do… but I guess you make stupid choices when you’re doing something you love.

Just a few weeks into his sophomore year, aspiring photographer Alberto Zacarias decided to drop out of college to pursue his passion. Now he finds himself back inside these familiar halls once again. 

He describes his academic journey as a battlefield, being a soldier crawling through the trenches on his hands and knees. He was aware that many college students are told majoring in liberal arts was a risk.

For Zacarias, it was an opportunity.

“It is an absolute terrible idea to do having no financial security at all, but I guess you make stupid choices when you’re doing something you love,” said Zacarias.

Zacarias, 20, dropped out of California State University, Northridge to pursue his passion for photography. Although he is back on track as a CTVA major at CSUN, he has realized that life will always bring challenges and struggles.  

A few months ago, while all his friends were continuing classes and chasing a degree, Zacarias was chasing a dream. Instead of sitting in lecture halls, he was gaining experience and skills needed to survive. 

For Zacarias, the best way to prepare for a career was to do it himself. However, he was aware how leaving college with a degree is easier than leaving without one.

“I left to pursue photography on my own. I maintained an eight-to-five job that I didn’t like to make money for what I was trying to do. And ultimately it was really boring so I decided to come back here,” he said.

Zacarias explained how making the decision to go back after leaving would help further his career. However, he does not regret the decision to drop out. Dropping out of college and living on his own taught him life lessons an academic course could not teach.

A person can either take the easy way or the path less traveled. For Zacarias, success can be found regardless of destination. He says art encourages divergence and tells stories that words cannot express on its own.

“It’s about survival and it’s about relationships and having a family and security. Or it’s about art and expression,” said Zacarias. “Eternally, artists have gone to college and succeeded and some have failed. It has multiple answers.”

Zacarias described his journey as a battlefield as he crawls through the trenches on his hand and knees. Following your dreams is easier said than done, but he continues to move forward.

The truth often intimidates people, but truth can spark inspiration. Zacarias has learned the reality of living inside and out of the academic circle.

“Beggars can’t be choosers. People need more truth than they need inspiration. So it’s easy to say go do what you want but when you’re actually in the trenches, it’s different.”

Zacarias plans to graduate CSUN and get his degree in Cinema and Television Arts and hopes to later be enrolled to Chapman University.

He looks forward to continuing his academic journey. Although, Zacarias is sure there will be more battles to overcome.

“I haven’t left the trenches yet,” said Zacarias.


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