Quay, one of four daughters born to a single out-of-work mother in Detroit’s worst neighborhood, is the first in her family ever to attend college. She enrolls at Eastern Michigan University, 20 minutes from where she grew up, because she wants to be close to her Mother who is her rock and the motivation for any success Quay aspires to achieve. Three years into her college experience, a series of tragic events leads Quay into a deep depression and she drops out of school. Eventually, Quay finds the strength to leave a toxic romantic relationship, and does everything she can to get back into school. We watch as she works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. Unsure of where her drive and ambition comes from, her story culminates with her finally graduating college after ten years.
Peter is the only child of two UCLA linguistics professors. Having grown up without television, Peter took to playing piano, creating science projects, and reading the New Yorker for fun. At the age of 14, Peter decided that he was a nerd and resolved to give himself a makeover. He rid himself of glasses, treated his acne and began tutoring the popular kids in his class who in turn taught him how to be socially acceptable and well-liked. Throughout the ten years, we watch as Peter comes into his own as he attends Brown University. We follow as he thrives in college, travels the world, and moves to China for two years to teach. His story comes full circle as we see him embrace his inner nerd and begins his career at an educational tech start up in San Francisco.
Charles grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Detroit. Born addicted to drugs, Charles went through the foster care system and was ultimately adopted by the family that raised him. He attends Central Michigan University, where he meets and falls in love with Kylie during his freshman year. A couple years out of college he totals his car and is arrested for DUI. We are with him on the ride home from his court hearing when he vows to get his life on track. Charles struggles with what he wants to do career-wise, but finds employment as a loan officer back in Detroit. We seem him propose to Kylie and they marry the following year. He realizes his calling: to be a motivational speaker to inspire kids with a similar upbringing as his own. Charles’ story ends with his first speaking engagement, speaking to troubled youth.
As president of her high school’s debate team, Sarah fell in love with politics and decided early on to pursue her passion. She attends the University of Florida and throughout college, does exceptionally well. She studies abroad and travels extensively throughout the middle east as she falls in love with the middle eastern culture. She then attains a triple masters at University of Texas Austin, but after a heartbreaking break up with her boyfriend of two years, moves to Washington, DC. We watch as she struggles to find a job that she’s passionate about. Her story ends as we see her packing up her DC apartment to move to Dubai where she has landed a dream job and the experience of a lifetime.