Matt on academics

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

   Looking back over the course of my life I can see so many things I could have done differently.  That list is far too long to include here.  You’ll get the abbreviated version.

   When I was in the ninth grade, I was incredibly disenchanted with school.  I thought it was a pathetic joke of an establishment that taught a bunch of useless and impractical knowledge.  The social structure was unappealing as well.  Favor seemed to be garnered by those who displayed some kind of athletic ability or physical aesthetics.

  That school year, I was absent at least two days out of every week.  I had a future image of myself working in construction; so, on the days I wasn’t at school, I was getting a jump-start on my construction career, or helping out at the small ranch of a neighbor.

Matt 16yo_1
Matt at 16, walking a neighbor’s horse.

   The ninth grade was my last year of formal education.  It was more like my last few days of formal education, strung out for the duration of the school term.  After school ended, I began working full-time, doing residential remodeling and any phases of construction that my employer indulged in.

   I didn’t drop out of high school to smoke weed and play video games on my mom’s couch.  I dropped out to begin to learn a trade, or two, that I could eventually parlay into a business of my own, much like what my dad has done since I can remember.

   My current situation affords me time to think about things I might not otherwise consider.  One of those things that has crossed my mind on more than one occasion is that maybe school wasn’t such a waste of time after all.  Maybe the accumulation of knowledge might have turned out to not be so useless.  Maybe my teachers, elders and parents knew a thing or two that could have been passed on to me.

   It is possible that finishing school and going to college would have equipped me to deal with life a little better than not.  It is also very possible that the academic route would have led me down the path to a career that the general public considers a success, only to loathe my job and myself, in spite of how successful the world perceived me to be.  Another possibility would be the one in which (if I were cut from such a cloth) I finished school and university, only to end up playing Xbox and smoking medical marijuana, to treat myself for the headache I had at some point in my life.

   What it comes down to is that a diploma or a degree do not, necessarily, a better person make.  That being said, the lack of such credentials doesn’t detract from an individual, either. For too many years I thought that formal education really mattered.  It can matter, but it doesn’t always.

   I’m not ashamed of the academic path I took or did not take.  I’m really not ashamed of anything in my life.  There are circumstances I would like to change, and situations I could have navigated more gracefully, but ultimately, failure is the result of not learning from mistakes.

   I believe it’s more of a shame to follow the norms of convention for convention’s sake, than for a person to follow their heart and stumble along at times in order to find their way.

   Thank you for reading.

 Matt signature_1

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