The last week of my life cleared up a lot of things for me. Not only has my health improved after somewhat of an outpatient procedure, but I figured out what I want to do with my life for the next couple of years.
Since I was 15, I’ve been working in addition to going to school. I started my own business boarding neighborhood animals when their owners went out of town, worked at a local movie theater, even did grocery store demonstrations on the weekends.
I kept the demonstrations up in college, also taking on working as a telemarketer for about a year. Finally, at the beginning of 2006, I consolidated all of my work-related energy into waitressing, which I’ve been doing ever since. I have to say that was my favorite of all of my jobs because it got me a few very good friends and provided me with a comfortable niche, especially due to my age.
All the while, my family consistently reminded me that my first priority should have been school. I was here to learn and to take advantage of the opportunity I was given to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Sometimes I blew them off when they said it, not because I thought they were wrong, but because supporting myself financially had become important to me, and I didn’t want to stop.
After the last week, one in which I hardly worked and spent a lot of time resting and studying, I realized how much the life of a full-time student appeals to me. To be brutally honest, I’ve never devoted a lot of my energy to studying because I’ve never had the time or the energy. After going to class all day, working on the newspaper for a few hours in the afternoon and then working a shift at the restaurant until early morning, my studies didn’t really stand a chance against the prospect of sleep.
However, I’ve watched my roommate spend the last few years of her life focusing on school, and she’s made leaps and bounds toward many of her goals that I don’t even think she acknowledges fully. I’ve seen a handful of friends fail out of school, and then later say that they would “hopefully” like to get back to it. There seems to be a kind of reverence for this experience in their minds, and I feel it is time for me to share it with them.
I’m not saying work isn’t necessary, or that at it doesn’t teach people lessons impossible to gain in a classroom. But I do think that being a student is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly, but with a full understanding of how these years can enrich one’s perspectives and leave them better able and prepared to live their lives.