There are three essentials that the young man who enters college with the intention of working his way must possess. First of all, he must have stamina. Call it what you will: “grit” or “sand” or “pluck,” it all amounts to the same thing, that he must “screw his courage to the sticking point,” and, in the face of disappointments and rebuffs, keep it screwed there.

The fellow who can best do this is the one who has the happy faculty of looking on the bright side of things. For the young man who starts out to work his way through college, an optimistic temperament and a flat pocket-book are to be preferred to 247 a pessimistic disposition and a purse with $25 in it. The college or university man working his way should take to heart that little rhyme which says:

“It is easy enough to be pleasant

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When life goes by like a song,

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But the man worth while

Is the man who can smile

When everything goes dead wrong.”

A third essential is inventiveness and originality of mind. Many a fellow has worked his way because he could invent opportunities, while others sat and waited for them to come their way. The young man who goes to college ambitious to work his way ought not to become discouraged when he gets there because he finds the usual occupations taken. Let him consider that they are not the only possible ways of earning money; that there are others, dozens, yes, scores, of other ways, and that it remains for him to invent the way.

These three essentials just discussed are those that are demanded of the young man. And in return he gains from his experience—what?

For one thing, a stronger confidence in himself; a deeper, more abiding faith in his own abilities; he puts them to the test, and finds them not wanting. And if he finds any wanting, he feels stronger in realizing his weaknesses.

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Another thing that he gains is a surer appreciation of the value of money. He may never have had 248 to earn much before. But when at college he is thrown on his own resources, when he gets each dollar by hard work, he appreciates its value—and he will be slow to waste it.

Grit, an optimistic outlook, and a quickness to discern or to invent opportunities, then, are the three essentials for the young man ambitious to earn his way through school. And when he has achieved his ambition, when his college days are over, and someone asks him, “Was the experience worth all the hardships it cost you?” he can unhesitatingly answer, “Yes, many, many times over.”

University of Arizona,

Tucson, Ariz.



When a boy at the age of sixteen, I lived with my father on a very poor, rocky, stumpy farm near Joplin, Mo. My education and financial condition were very limited. I attended the country graded school until graduation. One day as I was toiling among the stumps on our little farm, it came into my mind, “What good am I doing here, and what good might I do had I the opportunity?” It was only a few weeks before I received a circular letter from the Joplin Business College, offering me the opportunity of attending this school and of making my expenses while there. I had only $25 and to me the task seemed hard and the burden heavy; but within there was a burning desire for something better, something more elevating than the companions with whom I had associated.

On the 19th day of November, 1909, I entered the Joplin Business College. I enrolled and graduated in the bookkeeping, stenographic, and penmanship departments within a period of two years. I was compelled to earn entirely my board, room, and clothing while I was attending school; and, in order to do this, I waited on tables in restaurants, mowed 250 lawns on Saturdays during the summer, did janitor’s work at the business college, was janitor at the Presbyterian church, read gas meters for the Joplin Gas Company, and worked in a shoe store on Saturday nights.

After graduating, September 1, 1911, I was chosen as assistant secretary of the Y. M. C. A., Pittsburg, Kansas. I had been with the Y. M. C. A. only one year when I concluded that my work in that department was limited, and that I needed more education in order to be of service to my fellow-men. The boys’ secretary assisted me in getting the position as private secretary to Dr. Campbell, President of Cooper College, which I am now attending. In this way I am able to make my expenses and carry regular college work at the same time.