For four years, the 28-year-old from Quebec lived the life of a wandering scholar, moving from one university town to the next, attending lectures and seminars, getting into heated debates with professors. Sometimes he was open about his unregistered status, but most of the time, fearing reprisal, he kept it quiet. To pay for his everyday expenses, he worked at cafes and occasionally earned money by writing papers for other students. He lived at co-ops or other cheap student housing, but at Brown, when funds got particularly low, a kind soul let him set up his sleeping bag and tent on the roof. At the end of all this, he never received a degree.[…]
When Dumas was hatching his plan to crash colleges, he was enthralled by the possibility that he could walk into any campus and blend in with the other students there. Seeing how far he could take the ruse became a kind of game to him. He picked up some valuable lessons along the way. For instance, showing up for a course at the beginning of the semester draws a lot less suspicion than showing up later on. Also, it is always better to keep your unenrolled status a secret, because you can never tell who will be sympathetic or hostile to a freeloader. Dumas was surprised that a professor of socialist history at U.C. Berkeley, of all people, was incredibly upset upon discovering his shenanigans.