Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Ya know…I read Andy’s article about road trips and I wondered to myself, “Barstool, why don’t YOU quit school and go on road trips?” I thought about it for a while, first looking at the positive aspects of quitting school and going on road trips. If I quit school I wouldn’t have any more homework to do, there would be no tests, no more books to read, no more projects, and (in my case since I commute) no more commuting. I could see all of those places I’ve never seen before and meet all sorts of interesting people all along the expansive highway system of this great country. I know for a FACT that I would have such a wonderful time….

…but then reality hits…

A single lesson comes back to haunt me whenever I think of going on such excursions. I felt the same way people like Andy do back in my first two years of college. Entering college, I vowed to study and do my best. I was an electrical engineering major at Texas A&M University in Galveston….I was to spend a year there and then move to the main campus in College Station. My first semester wasn’t that tough and I ended up with a 2.7 GPA (which I wasn’t THAT happy with but I would take it). The second semester rolled around and I started thinking about my college career and which major I should REALLY be in. Believe it or not, I had actually wanted to major in some kind of art. Ever since I was 4 I had been able to draw rather well according to other people. All through high school I was fed incessant suggestions to enter the art field. Those thoughts started creeping back and I lost all interest in my major. Why should I major in something I’m not crazy about? Why should I spend all of my time studying physics, math, etc. when I could be drawing and having fun? I went on several road trips that semester…and I also ended up with several bad grades in my classes.

I was forced to take classes at a community college and work my way back to A&M College Station, which I did. But again, I went through that cycle (that and I really didn’t like living there) and wound up with terrible grades and academic probation. Here’s where I owe my family big time. After such a terrible semester they took me back and pounded into my head one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned.

You work hard to earn your free time.

I site my grandfather, a man that I have respected and admired all of my life. He grew up in a tiny house in Sour Lake, TX with his two brothers and two sisters (I think that’s the right number) during the Great Depression. He and his brothers were drafted into the army for World War 2 but he never saw combat since he was color blind. Instead he was assigned to assist in research on prosthetic limbs although he almost got assigned to something called the Manhattan Project (whatever that was, right?). After the war was over he attended the University of Texas and got a mechanical engineering degree. I asked him one time why he chose that degree and he changed my perspective entirely by saying six words…

“So I could get a job.”

He later went on to do grunt work in the oil industry, work his butt off to climb the ladder of success, and become one of the top dogs in the company. Later he started our family company that’s still going strong today. All the while he was able to travel and experience life. What was the difference between doing it then and doing it when he was younger? Traveling in class, comfort, and spending all of his time enjoying his travels and not having a worry in the world.

That’s what I realized that summer after my horrible semester at A&M. I need to get a job, work hard, make money, and then I’ll have the rest of my life to do all of the things I want to do. Drawing? I can do that while I work if I’m serious enough about it. Road trips? Three words….paid vacation time. True, I might miss out on some things that I may only be able to do right here and now. But look at it this way, when I’m older, wiser, and RICHER I think the things I actually do get to experience will be experienced better than I could have possibly experienced them when I was younger. I think about the future NOW so I’m sure to enjoy it LATER.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of work to do.


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