On a recent Sunday morning, I was watching a show that most of you know called “Sunday Morning,” an hour-and-a-half news program that goes into some detail about current, or not-so-current, world events. I like this program because I like the moderator, Jane Pauley, and they do a good job with who they interview and the subjects they present.
On this program they featured the famous former Washington Post journalist, Carl Bernstein, who along with his colleague, Bob Woodward, brought down the Nixon presidency exposing the Watergate scandal.
Bernstein, while giving his background, showed his high school transcript, made up of mostly D’s and F’s, and I’m still not sure if he even graduated. I do know he attended the University of Maryland, but did not graduate.
However, he did learn to type and got a job in his teens as a copy boy at the Washington News, a paper that no longer exists. He said it was the break of his lifetime.
I tell you this because he emphasized the fact that his education mainly came from his experience on the job. He did not put down his high school years, but I have often tried to tell young people that schooling is a training ground for your future.
How to get along with people is one of the most important things you learn. A teacher you don’t like may be like a boss you don’t like in the future, but you have to suck it up because your job supports your family!
Are all your classes fun and interesting? No, but neither will every day on the job be fun and interesting. High school is simply a training ground for the future.
In all the jobs I have held, I cannot remember ever being ask at the interview, “Can you do algebra?”And after high school I swore I would never take another math class. And I did not — but high school algebra made me work at something I found very hard. I used that experience on the job many times.
If you are reading this and you are still in high school, work your butt off. You will never regret it. You will use those work habits the rest of your life.
But also try to find work in an occupation that you cannot wait to get to every day. The more education you have, the easier it will be to find that job.
And as most of your elders will tell you, you will probably learn something new every day. And even though you will not think it at the time, you will call on many things daily that you learned in your school days.
Tony Lamke of Wilmington writes a periodic column for the News Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.