I’ve always been fascinated with learning.
I bought into the education hook, line, and sinker at an early age.
During my teenage years, my parents divorced.
My two sisters, brother and I stayed with my mother while my father went on to live his new life.
It was a difficult time for all of us.
I remember being very confused at the time.
It seemed like my whole world had shifted in a jarring way.
Times became very lean as my mother worked diligently to put food on the table.
We lived on welfare for a while, which embarrassed me more than anything I could have imagined possible as a teenager.
In retrospect, I realize most people go through their teenage angst.
Living on welfare was the thing I wanted most to keep hidden.
I don’t think any of my friends knew that we were on welfare. I certainly made sure to keep the secret under wraps.
As far back as I can remember, I dreamt of being a doctor.
I’m not sure if that was my thought or if it was the hopes and dreams of my mother.
Mothers have powerful influences on their children, and my mother no exception.
For most of my life, I wanted to make her proud.
It might have been my idea to be a doctor, or it might have been my mother’s idea to be a doctor.
I remember watching TV shows where the doctor saved lives and brought healing into people’s lives.
The one thing I assumed about doctors was that they made a lot of money.
I knew for most of my life that I wanted to be well to do.
Well to do is putting it mildly. I wanted to be rich.
I didn’t have aspirations of owning fancy cars, yachts, private planes, or mansions.
Mostly I wanted to be rich so that I could be in control of my life.
I saw how my parents raised me, my brother and sisters, and I could tell that money was always tight in our family.
For some reason, this bothered me.
I have my suspicions about why money was tight, but I never asked my parents why things were the way they were.
Money became even tighter once my parents got divorced.
Any single mother can tell you how difficult it is to balance raising children with limited job prospects.
I have no idea how my mother did all the things she did.
The economic challenges of my youth burned a disdain for scarcity that has become a driving force in my life.
I took those pains, and I used them as motivation to study harder at school and get good grades.
I bought into the party line to get good grades, go to a good school, and get a good job.
It was the religion I believed in most as a child.
I believed wholeheartedly that education was going to be my path to a better life.
I enjoyed my science and math in high school and excelled as a student.
I was very good at getting straight As.
Although occasionally, I would get a stray B once or twice a semester.
I graduated in the top ten in my high school class and received a scholarship to the college.
I was well on my way to my dreams of becoming a doctor.
That was until I took organic chemistry in my second year of college.
Organic chemistry is one of those college classes that makes or breaks one as they pursue dreams of becoming a doctor.
Organic chemistry broke me.
Rather I should say I let organic chemistry break me.
My intention of going into college was to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.
Of all the science classes I had in high school, chemistry was my favorite science class.
However, organic chemistry was a different animal.
For those who know nothing about organic chemistry, let me tell you about my experience.
I will include myself as one who doesn’t know anything about organic chemistry other than the fact that it squashed my dreams of a profession in medicine.
I remember that my professor told us on the first day of class that it was very important to keep up in class because everything in organic chemistry builds on itself.
I remember the professor saying that if you get a week behind, you are going to have serious challenges.
I was diligent in listening to my professor.
I got three weeks behind.
Three weeks behind was like being overcome by an avalanche
I was done.
I ended up barely passing the class.
I got a D in organic chemistry.
In my entire academic career, it was the only D I ever received.
What was I going to do?
My whole life was built around me becoming a doctor, and I couldn’t get past organic chemistry.
At the time, I had a college roommate Jeremy who was pretty savvy in business.
His father was a real estate investor and taught Jeremy the ropes of being a business person.
Jeremy, at the young age of 18, owned a few rental properties.
I was fascinated with Jeremy’s business acumen.
My roommate Jeremy was making money in a way that I didn’t even realize existed.
Jeremy mentioned to me that he was taking an intro to business class the next semester, and I decided to enroll in the same class.
From day one of the intro to business class, I was hooked.
I loved learning about business.
I was sure at the time what direction my career would go in, but I knew I wanted to do something business-related.
At the end of that semester, I had earned my associate’s degree which was worth something.
I worked a few jobs that didn’t work out, which lead me to join the Army so I could have time to figure out what direction I was going to take with my life.
While I was in the Army, I took my first accounting class, and I had figured out my place in the world.
I went on to get an accounting degree and became a Certified Public Accountant.
That has turned out to be a deeply fulfilling career for me.
I was able to learn the language of business and help a lot of other people grow their businesses.
As I reflect on my earlier aspirations to be a doctor, I realize that would have been the worst career for me.
I had no idea how the dedication that doctors devote to the art of healing.