Drop-out is a term that sometimes carries a negative connotation, labeling individuals as somehow less deserving of successful opportunities than those who walk across the stage, wearing a cap and gown at graduation.

But to Enrique Solorzano, a former BYU-Idaho student and English major, opportunities come to those who work for them, even if that doesn’t always include a college degree.

“I started realizing that I wanted to live for something,” Solorzano said. “I wanted to have a goal in life and pursue a passion. I wanted to create something that was tangible and I didn’t want to put that off any longer.”

So he did. Solorzano self-published his first book, a collection of poems, written and curated independently, titled Open Windows, on Oct. 2 and is currently working on a follow-up release.

“I did some research and realized I could self-publish through Amazon,” Solorzano said.” I went through all the edits until it was super refined and just put it out. Five days later, it was on Amazon and the feedback from it has been ridiculous.”

The book details a chapter of Solorzano’s life, somewhat autobiographically, through poetry that he wrote as a therapeutic outlet while attending BYU-I.

“I was struggling mentally with things like depression and anxiety, and I didn’t really have anyone to talk to,” Solorzano said. “I was really alone and turned to my writing, and it was how I learned how to feel okay and get through things.”

Solorzano decided he would use his poetry to try and reach other people who might feel alone.

“Not a lot of people want to talk about how they cry at night,” Solorzano said. “I just started writing things that I was feeling and other people might be feeling but couldn’t find the words to say, so if I can say those things through these poems, maybe it can be something uplifting for those kids.”

Solorzano said his dream is to reach people and inspire them in a way that he never truly felt like he had growing up.

“I feel like a lot of kids have surface level support within the things they feel passionate about; unless it’s sports or something, it doesn’t really go very deep, and I was one of those kids,” Solorzano said.

Solorzano started writing when he was 12 years old, but only recently felt confident enough to share his craft on a public platform.

“I started writing when I was real young, I have always enjoyed writing and been passionate about it, but when you’re that young nobody is very good,” Solorzano said. “Like a 12-year-old writing poetry is real corny stuff.”

Solorzano said he hopes to someday turn around and be a person he wished was there to support him growing up for someone else.

“I would like to be a teacher someday, but I realized at BYU-Idaho that I don’t want to go right into that without having accomplished being a writer first,” Solorzano said. “I feel like kids need creative support and they need to have people they can look up to and see are excelling. I want to do that first.”