In the spring of my junior year of high school, searching for an easy class full of girls, I signed up for typing. My decision was correct on one account I was wrong on another: the class was full of girls but not easy.
I was surrounded by high school girls who took to typing like ducks to water. Every class session would produce new records: 30 words per minute with only two mistakes; 50 words per minute with one mistake and the record, 60 words per minute with no mistakes. In contrast, I trudged along setting my own record—20 words per minute with 5 mistakes.
At the end of the semester, I received a “mercy C” in Ms Dixon’s class. I also acquired a lifelong respect for people who spend their days tapping away on keyboards. Had I learned that there are no easy classes, I would not have registered for mechanical drawing.
A good draftsman possesses the skill to draw in ink without making a mistake. Not me—wrinkled and smudged from erasures, my drawings were terrible. Before long, the teacher, Joe “Fig” Wooten, understood I had no aptitude for drawing.
Prior to the class ending, my classmates would turn in their completed drawings. I would still be working when the bell rung and return after school to work while Mr. Wooten graded papers. I finished the semester, learned basic drafting skills and received another “mercy C.”
In college, majoring in history and American Studies, I teased my business major friends about attending a trade school. In return they would belittle my wimpy courses. Challenged by my friends and bored with “subjective” study matter I decided I wanted to take an accounting course. I convinced the head of the American Studies department to allow me to apply the course to the requirements for my major and signed up for accounting 101.
I loved accounting. When studying history you delve into “gray” areas— accounting, however, is black and white: debit and credit. Not only did I enjoy the course work, I was able to join my buddies, sitting on the steps of the business building, watching the girls go by.
Typing, mechanical drawing and accounting—those three courses provided value I never imagined. What I learned made my transition into the business world much easier, and many years later, I still use the skills gained in “throw away” courses.
“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” – Chinese Proverb