It took me forever to finish college. That was the marked-out destination on the game board after high school as far as I knew. But life had gotten in the way and I could cross it off for forever.
In my late twenties I finally got back into a university and began to finish off the required classes. One of the classes was US government or something in that area. The professor was a hundred years old as far as I could tell, but he was so enthusiastic. He loved what he was teaching.
One class, he told us how he started college. He’d gotten in by mail, but he didn’t know how he’d manage to go to college and live.
So he got a suitcase and took—a bus? A train? to the university. He had no money and no place to live, but he was going to go to college. He knew he needed a job first thing. His plan? he walked along the streets of the college and stopped at every business asking for work.
He didn’t get a job that first day. He still had no money. And night came.
The was a park nearby with a couple apricot trees. He took his suitcase to the park and ate the apricots that had fallen from the tree. He slept in the park.
Next day he got up and kept looking for work. He hit the jackpot on the third day with a job and a place to live that came with it. He said he was pretty tired of those apricots.
Hell of a story. He went all the way through to be a professor.
Society was different a hundred years ago.
This last year I’ve been giving my daughter what I call “Independence training.” She’s 12 now. I want her to be able to face whatever life brings her and get what she needs.
I’ve taught her how to do laundry and how to make her bed.
Her favorite skill in the independence category is making ramen soup. She has determined her preferred ratio of flavor packet and water, and makes her own lunch frequently.
What with laundry and ramen soup, I told her she is well on her way to being prepared for college.
College is different in the 21st century. But challenges are always with us. I should probably think about what professor suitcase had and if it can be taught.
Some things change, but some things are always the same. How hungry am I?