Sunday, January 11, 2004

The school of hard knocks
I didn't go to an Ivy League school. It wasn't that I didn't have the scores. SAT, ACT -- while I won't say that I aced them -- were quite respectable. But I chose to attend a community school. I was not going to put my family or myself in debt, so I chose a reasonable school were I could live at home. Yes, I chose this and I have no regrets.

I still had to do the work. I had professors who were from prestigious schools. I went the extra mile -- worked on my school paper, found my own internship, etc.

Yet just a day ago, I heard someone talking about MY school. Something about a relative was coming home to get an 'easy' degree from my alma mater. 'Easy' from someone who never stepped foot in one of my classes.

I wouldn't say my education or my life have been 'easy.' Nor would I say they were 'tough.' Tough is living in a third-world country with no running water or being abused or having a terminal illness. But somewhere between easy and tough, I learned a few extra things besides journalism and poli sci.

Lesson 1: You don't always get what you want. I would have loved to have gone to an Ivy League school, stayed in a dorm and experienced traditional campus life. I would have loved to have a high-paying job waiting for me to graduate. Neither of these things happened though. I didn't die; I adapted.

Lesson 2: You have to work for what you get. There are no free rides even in an 'easy' school. And there are no free rides in life. If you want it, be prepared to do what it takes. Unless you are born independently wealthy, stunningly beautiful, highly intelligent and overwhelmingly charming, you're going to get a little dirty now and then.

Lesson 3: Life doesn't follow your timetable. Things happen when the time is right (usually after you've paid your dues and worked your butt off) and not a minute sooner.

I may have went to an easier school, but I learned a lot more.

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