Last spring when I was looking out for work for the summer, my attention was called to that of canvassing. I never thought I would like this work, 232 but knew that there was good pay in it, so I decided to try it. I liked the work much better than I expected, and it is very profitable business. I believe that the average student who works hard could make at least $100.00 per month canvassing, and meeting with different people throughout the country and studying human nature is certainly profitable educationally. I know the experience has helped me a great deal, and I would not take a considerable sum of money for the training I received while canvassing. I am going into the same work next summer.

I don’t believe that any young man should deprive himself of a college education, simply because he thinks he cannot afford it. My advice is to start right in, and some kind of work will present itself, enabling you to work your way to graduation.

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Davidson College, Davidson, N. C.

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To-day if a young man or woman lacking financial means wishes to get an education, the question is not: Am I able to get it? It is: Am I willing to work for it? I have not completed my education, but I am working for it. With the hope that it may encourage someone who thinks working for an education is a colossal task, or that it may suggest a way, I shall tell how I have been working my way through college.

At fourteen I debated whether I should complete my high school course or not and ended with the belief that a commercial school would give me a more practical education than the high school and would put me on a salary basis when I was through. There were six of us children at home; as they would grow up the expense of keeping our family decently would soon exceed father’s income, for he was a wage earner. It would cost about $15.00 per month to go to the commercial school. This father could spare out of our month’s savings, but it would be a sacrifice; yet he was willing to do it. I decided to get a business education, but determined to pay the expenses myself. At Laurium, Mich., two miles 234 from my home, was the Laurium Commercial School. The day after my father and I had agreed upon the course I should follow, I went to Laurium and had a talk with the principal of the school. He needed a janitor and I offered to do the sweeping, dusting, window-washing, firing and all duties incident to a janitorship in return for all expenses. He hesitated, for I was young, and small for my age. Finally he agreed, and one day after the opening of the regular fall session I was at work on my Bookkeeping.

It was hard work, especially when winter came, when I had to trudge through the deep snow, and sometimes it was dangerous, when a northwestern blizzard would come sailing over us from Lake Superior. The stoves of the school had to be fed during the months between October and April. It was necessary to carry the fuel from the basement to the third floor at convenient times and to arrive early in the morning to enliven the fires. It was hard work on the muscles, but my heart was seldom heavy, for the students were considerate and kind and they made me feel inspired rather than humiliated; in fact, I was one of them. I succeeded in covering as much work as the average student and at an average standing, and in a year and a half I had completed the combined commercial course.

Just before leaving the commercial school, I made application for a position with a commission house in our city. They took me on trial and for awhile 235 it seemed as if they would not keep me. But I succeeded in sticking and by burning some midnight oil, and a lot of digging managed to fall in line with the work, and it was a task, for the accounting system used was a cost-finding system and made the work of the bookkeeper difficult and a matter of great responsibility. I remained in this position three years when I resigned to accept a position with a lumbering firm during one winter’s operations.

I had long come to learn that my education was inadequate and many times regretted that I left the high school. To make the best of it, I spent most of my evenings in the public library and in my room covering lost ground. As my ignorance made itself more and more manifest, I began to think out some plan by which I could get to college. The winter I worked with the lumbering firm, I was employed three evenings a week tutoring a class of men in a large co?perative department store, who wanted to make ready for promotions. This work brought me some money and experience. The money I had saved would not keep me more than a year in college, but I thought that with a little more preparation I could teach the commercial subjects in some college in return for my expenses. So I resolved to take my earnings and attend the Zanerian School of Penmanship, Columbus, Ohio, that I might be capable of teaching Penmanship as well as Stenography and Bookkeeping; but father was stricken with pneumonia and disabled for six months 236 and I gave him the greater part of my savings to help him out, and retained only $150.00, which would pay all traveling expenses, tuition and room rent, but would leave nothing for board. Yet I went to Columbus, and a week had not passed before I had a place as waiter in one of the best restaurants in the city, where I worked 2-1/2 hours a day and got my three meals, and the work did not interfere with my classes. Numbers of students in the Ohio State University and other colleges of Columbus earned their board that way. I made many acquaintances through my connection with the church, Sunday school and Y. M. C. A., but my being a waiter in a restaurant did not seem to hurt my standing with them.

Before eight months had passed my money was spent and I began to seek a position. It would not have been difficult to get employment as a bookkeeper or stenographer, but I wanted to teach. I was not seeking long. Mr. Zaner, principal of the school, called me to his desk one morning and asked me if I wanted to go to North Carolina to teach. I replied that I would. After a short correspondence I had my contract with the Bingham School, Mebane, N. C. At this time it was necessary to borrow some money, which I did, and after making a little pleasure trip through the eastern states I arrived at Bingham School and began to teach Bookkeeping, Shorthand and Typewriting. That was last year. During the day I taught and during the 237 evenings I studied history, literature, mathematics and science. The reading I had done came to good stead, and I found that I was not so far behind in my education after all. Before the year was half gone I came in touch with Elon College about fifteen miles away. Learning that the institution had a commercial department, I wrote to the president, offering my services as a commercial teacher for expenses in the college. My offer was finally accepted. When spring came I had paid all debts and saved some money. With it I went to Rochester, N. Y., and attended the Rochester Business Institute, securing a teacher’s diploma.

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Last September I entered upon the work I am doing here. As a student I have twenty hours of college work per week and I am teaching bookkeeping and stenography. Altogether it amounts to about thirty-two hours of work per week. It gives me much to do, yet I am not sorry, for I have no chance to waste any time and there is not much tendency to fall into lazy habits. Besides my regular work I give one and one-half hours daily to gymnasium and spend every Monday evening in literary society work; in fact I enjoy as many privileges and opportunities as any other student has time to enjoy, and I believe that I would not be doing any better if someone else was paying my expenses. Now the way is open before me to get my college education. When the proper time comes it is my plan to enter the University of Michigan to study for a profession. 238 At the present time my purse is empty, yet I am sure there will be a way; there always was a way when I was willing to pay the price, namely, a little hard work and a careful management of my time and means. Of course, there have been times of doubt and disappointment, when I have been among strangers, or when temporary pressure of work has made me feel that I could not hold out another minute; but those incidents have been eclipsed in the regular progress of better experiences and now I feel that I would not have the past to be other than it has been, and I face the future with a hopeful heart.

Elon College, N. C.



After graduating from a high school in 1907, I was thrown upon my own resources. The possibility of entering college and paying my own way seemed only a faint hope. I had read of such things but, at the time, it seemed too great a handicap with which to burden myself. For three years I worked at the collection window of the First National Bank in my home town, and in September, 1910, quit my position and left for Minneapolis, determined to take at least a year or two at the University of Minnesota. I had four hundred dollars in my pocket, the result of three years’ savings. My first work was given to me by the secretary of the University Y. M. C. A., and for two years I took care of the Y. M. C. A. building and the university observatory on the campus. For this, I received twenty dollars a month, which helped considerably,—especially in view of the fact that I had joined a fraternity and my expenses were somewhat higher than the average. My first summer vacation was spent in a machine shop and I saved $150.00 from my summer’s wages. This and what I had earned while the University was in session paid my expenses 240 the first two years. By this time I had decided to finish my course at any cost. The second and third summer vacations were spent at outdoor carpenter work which proved both remunerative and healthful. In my junior year I was given the care of the furnace at the fraternity house, in which I lived, in return for my board. I was also advertising manager of the Gopher, the junior annual, and solicited advertising on a commission basis. In the meantime, I was active in college activities and had been elected to an associate editorship of the Minnesota Daily, the student newspaper. In the spring of last year the students elected me to fill the position of managing editor, carrying with it a salary of twenty-five dollars a month. The amount has since been raised to thirty dollars a month for the nine months of the college year. At odd times I have done newspaper work for metropolitan newspapers. At the present time I am receiving, besides my regular salary, from five to eight dollars a week from Minneapolis newspapers for reporting university news. The University is also paying me $5 a month for drilling as captain in the cadet corps, making my total earnings from $50 to $60 per month at the present time. I am carrying full senior work in the University and, although it keeps me busy handling it all, I expect to graduate next June without any conditions or failures.

What has been accomplished is no more than any young man can do. I have been especially favored 241 at all times with the best of friends, who have pushed me forward at every opportunity. A willingness to work is, I have found, the best asset.