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WALTER A. JOHNSON

I am glad to be numbered in that group of students who are working their way through college. It has fallen to my lot for many years to make my own way in the world. Early in life I decided that the best thing I could do was to obtain a good practical education as soon as I could, and then I would be better able to make a living.

I had no means with which to go to school, as my parents died when I was quite small, leaving me none of this world’s goods; but, through a friend I heard of a school near my home in Georgia, where one could go without much money. So I applied for admission, and entered The Berry School of Rome, Ga., in 1908. It is a Christian industrial school for country boys whose means are limited. I remained there four years, working at the school during the summer to pay all expenses for the following year. I finished there in 1912.

It was while I was at The Berry School that my vision of life was broadened, and I was determined that my main object would not be simply to make a living, but to be of some service in the world, especially to those who were less fortunate than I. 231 I decided, therefore, to go through college, if possible. It was the influence of the noble founder and teachers of Berry School which gave me a desire to go to college, and it was they who helped me financially through my first year at college.

This is my second year at Davidson College, North Carolina, and I believe I can finish the four-year course without very much more outside help. The first part of last year, I put in a good deal of my spare time in working for some of the professors, but in the spring term I spent the time in collecting Kodak films to be sent off for developing, for which I received a liberal commission. I found this work to be much more profitable than the other odd jobs I had been doing. I still have this agency, and besides, my room-mate and I represent a laundry and a shoe repairing establishment of Charlotte, N. C. The three agencies take up very little more time than one, yet, our profits are more than trebled.

For the spring term I will wait on tables at one of the boarding houses, and this will pay my board for the term. I also have the monitorship of our class, and this pays well for the time it requires. I don’t say that with all this work my studies are not somewhat neglected, but with systematic work I do not believe it will interfere very seriously with my classroom work.

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.

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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.

Davidson College, Davidson, N. C.

THE REAL QUESTION

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H. E. JORGENSON

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.

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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.