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PLUCK RATHER THAN LUCK

F. D. HENRY

The demand of to-day and to-morrow will be for men who have had a college training, while the men who have little or no education will be compelled to fill the mediocre places in life. This fact was profoundly impressed upon my mind while yet in the grades of our common school. The per cent. of the men who have made good under adverse circumstances awoke in me dissatisfaction with my surroundings and circumstances. I resolved to attain some better station in life.

The fact that Abraham Lincoln, in spite of his physical appearance, financial condition, and many obstacles, any one of which would discourage the ordinary boy, attained the highest honors in the gift of our nation, was an inspiration to me. Marshall Field at one time was a poor boy, a clerk, in a country store, who, upon visiting Chicago, resolved to become a great merchant.

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I perceived that the keynote of the greatness of such men as Lincoln and Field was not only in having an ideal, but that, never ceasing, never flinching, never faltering, they kept their ideal before them. 222 These men realized there was no victory in retreat. They were men with a mission and an aim. They had faith in the standard they were striving to attain, and consequently they were truly successful.

Because of the fact that the world has an unlimited field for the man with a college education, while the uneducated man is forced to mingle with the mass in the lower walks of life, a college education became my ideal. Circumstances were such that I had to work my way through college, if I ever attained my ideal. At first the barrier seemed insurmountable, and I allowed myself to think of a college education more as a dream than something which I might actually obtain. After coming in contact with some college men, however, I found that my dream of an ideal might become a reality. Through many discouraging difficulties somehow I clung tenaciously to my ideal, broke down every barrier that arose, and came to Simpson College.

Everything was entirely different from what I had pictured. However, my ideas are not changed so much as they are strengthened and broadened. The vital question of work while in school, which at first seemed dark and gloomy, has changed its aspect entirely. In the first place the thing that impressed me most forcibly was that the boys and girls who take class honors are students who are compelled to work their way through college. It is not that any of us lack talent. We all have sufficient talent, but where we are deficient is in will-power to persistently 223 keep our ideals before us and attain that ideal with the vigor of a Field or a Lincoln.

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The next thing that I readily perceive is that the student who earns his way through appreciates his opportunity. He realizes that fortune smiles upon those who roll up their sleeves, put their shoulder to the wheel, and have backbone and stamina to fight the battle, and not turn aside for a little dirt or hard physical labor. The student who strikes the word “luck” from his vocabulary waits for no psychological moment, loiters not for a miracle to occur, but rather creates the miracle, makes his own opportunities.

In our college, here in the Middle West, the manner of earning one’s way varies a great deal. We are blessed with a rich country and the greater per cent. of the people are prosperous. The majority of students canvass during the summer vacation. I was formerly employed as a clerk in a hardware store before coming to college. Next summer, however, I will take up some form of canvassing. Canvassing has two distinct features that should appeal to the student; first, the opportunity to study human nature, and secondly, the fact that the harder you work the more you earn. Next school year I will have a position whereby I can earn my board and room, and with my summer earnings I shall be able to return for another year’s work.

My first reason for working my way through college was because of financial necessity. Now if I 224 were to choose between the two avenues of securing a college education I would cast my lot with the boy who works his way. His conceptions of life are broader, and he is better fitted for the battles of life he will meet when he leaves college. Thus, in many ways I consider the necessity of working one’s way through college not a detriment, but a blessing in disguise, which gives one a greater knowledge and a broader conception of what a life worth while really means.

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Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa.

POVERTY IS NOT HIS MASTER

BYRON E. JOHNSON

It has been my misfortune, or fortune, to be reared practically in the arms of poverty. I have spent the most of my days on a little farm in southwest Arkansas, the family consisting of six children and father and mother, living in an old log house on the farm. Just at the time when we were getting to where we could make a crop without buying everything on time, we lost about all we had on account of the ill health of my mother.

I was eighteen years of age when I finished the seventh grade. I thought then that I had enough education for any ordinary man. I had finished geography in the high school, I knew United States history fairly well, and had been through fractions in arithmetic; so I thought I was prepared for life. Besides having enough education, as I supposed, mother’s health was very bad; so I decided that it was time for me to stop fooling with school and go to work.

The next school term came around and mother’s health was no better; so as I had to stay at home, I decided to attend school. Three days after school was out, mother died. “Now as mother is gone 226 and I have finished one grade more than is necessary, I must get out and make something to replace our loss,” was about as high a thought as ever entered my mind.

Along in the summer I went to New Mexico. There were several children where I stayed, and when they started to school, the thoughts of the dear old school days came to me, and I wished that I were in school. As soon as I could get money enough, I returned home and entered school. Although I had learned enough to begin to realize my ignorance, I was still determined to make something to replace our loss. With this in view, I went to Texas, before school was out, to take a position at $30.00 per month and board. This was more than the average man received; yet it did not take me long to realize the fact that competition is too hard for any ordinary man to earn enough by honest labor to place himself in good circumstances in twelve or fifteen years. I had come to desire a nice home surrounded by the comforts of life, and when this desire dawned upon me, I decided to finish the high school.

I returned home and entered school at the beginning of the term. After some insisting on the part of my professor, I decided to go through college. I had practically two years of high school work before me, and I had no money at all; still, the more I thought about it, the more determined I was to take a college education. 227

By working hard and doing without many necessities, I managed to graduate from the high school at the end of two years, with first honors. As the time of my departure for college drew near, I found that my determination increased. I borrowed a little money with which to make the start. I arrived at Fayetteville, Arkansas, September 18, 1912. As the old boys have nearly all of the work about the University, it is hard for a freshman to get work. But after school had been going on a week, I secured a position which paid me $5.00 per month. I soon made a good many friends, including the commandant. With their help I have been able to get enough work to carry me through my first year. I wish to say to those who read this, that I never could have made my way this far without these friends, and a determination. I try to make all the friends I can, but I never let a friend come between me and duty.