After graduation, some students will go into internships and jobs, some will continue their education and some will face the unknown.

Among the 3,400 students who will graduate at UF Commencement ceremonies this week will be one who has faced the unknown and rebounded beautifully.

A couple of times, he was homeless.

Michael Hendricks, 38, graduating with a bachelor’s in political science from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, made a series of bad choices, he admits now, that left him flunked out of Boston University, abusing alcohol and living in his car or couch surfing at times when he had nowhere else to go. At one very dark point, he was suicidal.

In 2011, the Bradenton, Florida, native had noticed that people were living in tents as part of the Occupy Sarasota movement. One day, he got to talking to the people involved, and though he had never been a follower of politics, he decided to join them.

He was 90 days into his sobriety when decided to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Occupy Washington, D.C., march in early 2012. This experience opened his eyes to the power of joining together to make a statement, and hopefully, make a difference. “A purpose was starting to be given to me,” he says. “I got focus and a direction.”

In the course of this political involvement, he began to help with data entry, then organizers asked him to manage social media for the group. He also tried to start a social media business with the goal of utilizing technology to give citizens more of a say in the political process at the local, state, and national levels.

Continuing with his recovery program, and with a newfound drive to learn more about government, he enrolled in the State

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