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The first means by which I made a part of my expenses was by scrubbing halls and washing windows. 218 This I did in compensation for my board and a part of my room rent. It was new work to me; for I had never scrubbed a floor in my life. Yet it enabled me to see the world from the standpoint of the porter and I frankly confess that, after I had once gone through this experience, I had a different regard for the men and women of this occupation.

Later by selling and delivering papers, I got to see the world from the standpoint of the newsboy. This proved to be a valuable experience to me. For the first time in my life I faced the mobs of the street and transacted business with them. The many faces into which I looked made impressions upon my life, some of which have been lasting. The care free and the burdened; the hilarious and the melancholy; the custom-bound and the independent; the victims of disease and those to whom disease was unknown; in fact, people representing every condition and every class of life were among those with whom I came in contact. The good which I received from dealing with these widely different and distinct types of humanity is measured only by the resolutions that a man makes when he sees the beautiful and the unattractive, the uplifting and the debasing, the efficient and the inefficient, all within the experience of a day.

After my experience as a newsboy, I secured a place in the college dining hall to carry off and to scrape the dishes. This I did for a school year. 219 Though I had little liking for this work, I am better off because I did it and I have more sympathy for the housewife, the daily routine of whose duties every true mother must endure. From this place I was transferred a step higher. I began to wait on tables—a good place in which to cultivate one’s temper and to learn the art of being patient. Here one deals with all kinds of temperaments. The waiter must listen to the reasons (given by the girl who came in late) why toast is better buttered before it is served, and why coffee ought to be eliminated from the menu. Of course, he comes in contact with others who do not care what they have to eat, just so they have enough of it, and so it is hot. Hence, such work is valuable experience, and the waiter who for two or three years finds these faults repulsive to him and then allows himself to drift into the same sort of thing, deserves little pity.

At the present I am holding a student pastorate in the Methodist Episcopal Church. I can reach my appointment by leaving Saturday night, being able also to get back in time for my first class Monday. A great deal of fault is found with the student preacher, and usually this criticism originates within the college halls. In some schools he is regarded as one who cannot do anything else but preach—a sort of abnormal being; in others, however, he gets the respect which is justly due him. We do not need to investigate very far to find that most denominational schools owe their very existence 220 to the never-tiring work of the clergy. By making my school life twofold, I am enabled to state my theories and conclusions from actual experience; for each day I receive incentives which serve to promote the line of work which I am pursuing and if I should once more go through the process of finding my place in the world, I am of the opinion that I would be drawn into the work of a student preacher.

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We often hear that the college is a place where preparation for the work of life is made. Our elders tell us that the work of the college serves to broaden our horizon by changing our perspective; but the college, to the man who has never supported himself, will not mean a revelation to the world’s activities in their most true and real form. After graduating from college a man will find that he has awakened in a real world in which men are bearing responsibilities, and will realize that in every phase of life the world is calling for men who have had the most experience, who have received the strength which comes only from carrying a load.

Indianola, Iowa.


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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.

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.

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.