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Anybody who knew me as a kid was fully aware of three things about me— I talked really fast, I asked way too many questions, and I couldn’t stand going to school. You can probably guess that the first two weren’t that big of a deal from my point of view. The last one was a real killer though.
School was honestly my number one arch-nemesis growing up. From day one of kindergarten until the day I graduated from college, I couldn’t stand the “school” aspect of school (the tests, the homework, sitting in a classroom for hours, etc.). But notice one thing about that last sentence. . . how I couldn’t stand school until the day I graduated from college. That means I actually stuck it out for nineteen years and got my Bachelor’s degree. For some reason I didn’t call it quits. As a matter of fact, I actually encourage others to finish their schooling and do the best they can while they’re at it. I’ll explain.
For the first seven years of my education I was dragged to school kicking and screaming on a daily basis. Some days I ran around the house and got all sweaty so it’d seem like I had a fever. Other days I’d claim that a tiny cough was probably bronchitis. I was constantly trying to connive my way out of going to school. For some reason nothing ever fooled my mom though, and I always ended up having to get in what felt like a cop car and taken to a place that felt like prison.
Don’t get me wrong. . . I still couldn’t stand school after those first seven years. However, I began to see a slight change in my point of view after that. I watched my older sister reap so many benefits from school, I couldn’t help but realize that there had to be more to this thing than met the eye. . . it seemed like I just had to start trying to make school work for me instead of me working for school.
Just like always, I resolved that I’d never actually like the “school” aspect. What about the other aspects though? I started to appreciate the social aspect— I get to hang out with my friends on a daily basis! I started to appreciate the access to learning materials— I could get free access to expensive books and fancy software (to answer all my tons of questions). As high school started to wind down, I started to appreciate the “travel around the world for free” potential of college— you mean that I can get invited to move across the country, meet new people, eat all the food I want for free. . . and all I have to do is try my best in high school? I saw it happen to my sister first hand.
She got invited to go to school in New Jersey and got scholarships to pay for all her travel expenses, housing, food, and education. And supposedly, if you played your cards right, a college would even ship you across the Atlantic for a semester. You’d get all the same benefits but just on another continent. . . in addition to a stipend for extra travel! Whoa! So much good stuff that it was getting easy to forget about how much I couldn’t stand the “school” aspect. When I got into college, I became so busy focusing on and enamored by all the other aspects that I was sad when all those non-“school” aspects of school came to an end.
That was until I landed my first job. It took almost a year of desperately looking for any sort of work I could find, sitting in employment offices, taking aptitude tests, searching craigslist, going door-to-door gathering census data, etc. . . anything to make a buck. But eventually that degree landed me a steady job. It’s not a job that I’m absolutely crazy about, but it finances my life and allows me to invest in all the things I really like.
I was able to pay off all of my student loans too (since I didn’t get the big scholarships like my sister). But now I can start a thing like Pious Poultry that I really enjoy and not have to worry if sales fluctuate.
Thanks to a free education, I’m now able to pursue my childhood dreams and finance any ideas that come to mind, all on my own accord. I made the nineteen year investment. . . now I’m my own primary investor in any endeavor I pursue.
I’m not saying that you have to be the top of your class like my sister, but it’s definitely worth it to at least give school your best shot.
James Jay is a twenty-five-year-old family man who is trying to make a positive impact in the world while enjoying life to the fullest. He lives in Boston with his wife of two years and works full-time as an engineer in Cambridge. His business, Pious Poultry, started as a goofy high-school joke but developed into a fun way to make people smile while raising awareness and money for various causes.