Eddie Tanner graduated from Canton High School this spring and now he’s hard at work at two jobs. On this Monday, he finished up his shift at the chicken processing plant at 11 a.m. and then had to be behind the cash register at the Waffle House at 2 p.m.

He didn’t get much sleep.

Tanner’s planning to go to Holmes Community College in Ridgeland — 15 miles away — in January. Why wait?

“If I started now I’d be walking there,” he says.

So he’ll save up money for a car this fall and then start studying computer engineering next year. His sister attends Holmes as well. She went to Mississippi State University 100 miles away in Starkville for a while but it didn’t work out. 

He’s happy to stay close to home. Canton is great, he says. What’s so nice about it? “Canton: City of Lights,” he says, proudly. At Christmas time the whole center of town is covered in decorations. People come from all over to see it.

Maybe by the holidays Tanner will have saved up enough money to buy a car. What kind is he thinking about getting? “Just something that gets me from A to B.”

The Back-To-School Road Trip
Over eight days we’re driving from Minneapolis to New Orleans, talking about college with Americans along the way. Follow us on Twitter: @opencampusmedia.