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misteraven

12ozProphet Professions - Education, Experience, Skillzzzzzz.

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Figured this one might be fun and perhaps a first. All of us are obviously mostly old enough to have a profession, if not be well into it. As I've mentioned elsewhere and also the basis of the Jekyll Island Group, I really think that as the forum grows, there's a profound impact we can have. Obviously there's already tons of long time friendships, as well as marriages and kids that came out of this forum. We've also seen how back in the days you guys would rally up and crush drawball and other forums. Would be awesome if we could find ways to network, connect and perhaps help each other out in other ways. If nothing else, it's interesting (I'm curious anyways), but maybe there's opportunities possible that are mutually beneficial. Knowledge, skills, job opportunities or just general insight into aspects of life that might help you or your fellow Oontzer.

 

I know a few of you are hyper privacy concerned so up to you how specific you want to get into detail. Mainly I was thinking more top line detail and we could go from there.

 

I'll go first...

 

Actually have a BFA in Illustration. At the time I was planning to be a fine artists / painter and wanted a more structured education, driven more by technique than conceptual learning. Essentially minored in print making because it quickly became something I loved and have a minor in Art History.

 

While in school and then full time after school, I worked on 12ozProphet, which at that time was a zine. The internet sort of came into its own in the 1990s, so that drew my attention and thanks to guys like @Misk-TheDragonand @abysmalI got a quick crash course on development, networking and system administration (Now get the advanced knowledge and emergency help fro @Dirty_habiT). Launched the site and soon after the forum... The first version of what you see now. 

 

Anyhow, got deep into print publishing and learned the production side very well, as a compliment to the design / art side I learned in school. Fell into a few opportunities that got me deeper knowledge of print production, t the point that I know how to impose spreads onto plates, expose them, hang them on press and essentially run a 6 color, sheet fed Heidelberg, as well as the finishing and bindery process. Due to the timing, I also learned how to do things analog via films, through to digital direct to plate systems.

 

Because I developed a strong prepress skillset, I got sucked into photography since most photographers don't know dick about print production and the final result isn't just a pretty picture, but a printed reproduction of a picture. That lent itself to doing a lot of stuff for clothing brands, so by association I got to see behind the curtains of how brands operate. Fast forward and I end up doing many years of creative services (along side trying to keep 12oz going) and I start getting deeper into the the process of bringing product to market instead of just providing the assets used to bring them to market. Thanks to the success of 12oz, I was frequently looped into strategy meetings on directional brand building and marketing. A large part of talking about product is creating reasons to talk about, which meant building in talking points at the conceptual stage of product development, which then brought me full circle.

 

Anyhow, guess that makes me jack of many trades and probably the master of none. My skill set extends from product development to creative services, as well as marketing. I think that the development side is likely most tangible as there's true clarity on how well it performs, so I've sort of shifted towards that. Obviously I'm mostly focused on 12ozProphet these days, but still occasionally pickup some consulting or creative gigs and most recently, launched a screen printing facility with the hopes of delivering the level of quality I was chasing with 12oz and helping other clients with, but which was mostly elusive or non-existent.

 

Anyhow, that's a summary of what I do / done. Look forward to hearing about what you guys are all doing. And likewise, if anyone works at a place or knows people doing screen printing or looking for creative services, obviously reach out. Same goes for whatever skill sets and experience get revealed from the rest of you. Maybe this is just a fun exercise and more shit for us to talk about, but maybe we connect a few dots and build something.

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I'm 35 and still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up...

 

Did about 10 years in kitchens,  got an AA in culinary arts and restaurant management, which is basically an AA from clown college.  Oops. Fuck the industry lifestyle...

 

Did 6 years in the army as a scout, which basically set me up to be a cop or work security when I got out. I worked federal security for a couple years, but I felt like a cop so I quit that shit. Also, this job reinforced that I don't like working in a union, though I am very pro-union in principle. 

 

Bunch of random other shit before I went to school on the GI bill and got a B.S. in architecture. I knew by junior year that it wouldn't be my career as the premise of 40+ hours a week behind a computer would result in me killing myself.

 

I did a ton of resale via ebay while I was in school and have become a fairly proficient and profitable picker with vintage and antique stuff, if i ever won a big ass lottery i would pick full time--fully dream job status, but it's a very feast/famine career.

 

A few more odd jobs and I wound up as an electricians apprentice. Now I'm a residential electrician doing new construction and aside from bad management, really like the work. Should be licensed in about 18 months.

 

 

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Oh goody, I like this subject because I definitely don't fit the mold of "what you're supposed to do."

 

Like @Fist 666.... I'm in my 30s (37 now) and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  Right now I pay the bills by slaving over a hot keyboard all day, but my job is not 40h a week in front of a computer.  It is a lot of hours a week, but it doesn't feel shitty like you'd think.  There are MANY factors that go into what makes me happy about the job I'm currently in and it took me MANY years of working and doing other things to realize what exactly it is that I can be happy with.  I feel like when you're younger you don't know exactly.

 

I can tell you this, I don't like computers that much anymore, or working on them.  I do it because I'm good at it and it pays well..... but as far as things being exciting or some large subject to learn, i've learned a ton of it already and it just doesn't make my pants tight like it used to.  I'll get back to this in a few minutes.

 

Age 4 - "Grandma, I want to be a tree scientist when I grow up."

Age 8 - get my first computer.... nerding out begins.

Age 18 - not sure what I want to do when I grow up, I get kicked out of highschool and begin working at KFC (we called it Kookin Fuckin Chicken in the back).

Age 19 - resurfaced counter tops and bath tubs in Dallas/Fort Worth for a year or so.

Age 20 - on-site diesel mechanic, worked out of a PM truck w/ the owner of the mechanic business as his helper, was fun learned a lot.... earned my money.

Age 21 + - been working at various computer jobs in various roles, mostly support roles.  Now I work in an R&D role..... feels like I've "made it over the hump" kinda.

 

I never knew what I wanted to go to school for..... and now I'm glad I didn't.  The reason being, I'd probably have school debt right now, or I would have had paid off school debt by now.  Here's the reason I don't want to pay that money.  Being that I've worked in the industry already and have experience, i get to see the fresh computer sci college grads come into companies like they're the big swinging dicks, young and smart, full of energy, knows fuckin everything.  These people are the worst kind of people to work with if you're experienced..... but they can be forgiven because they don't realize they're acting like young/inexperienced people.  In any case, I learned what I know from reading and networking with other smart people.  If you think @misteravendoesn't know more about computers today than he did before we began working together, you'd be mistaken..... and that's exactly what leveled me up to where I am today, just working with other people that knew a bit more than myself.  You also cannot get the kind of knowledge in the industry by listening to some dork talk all day and then studying out of a book.  I've been in too many scenarios in the real world that you cannot simulate, describe, troubleshoot, or even begin to imagine inside a classroom.

 

A quick example is having access to 2x 40gig per second pipes in a Data Center that is hosting traffic for over a million domains.  You get botnets attacking from multiple ip's, multiple destination ports, and with completely randomized log entries.  For instance, the same attack has clients that look like an iphone user connecting to the webserver, and another one looks like a windows pc connecting from another IP requesting a different URL.  Both orchestrated from the same central place, neither appear similar, but you must QUICKLY correlate what's going on, figure out how to fingerprint the attack, strategize how to mitigate it, and then put the process into place..... and hope that you didn't miss anything and that it all works.  You can't learn that in a class, so in that regard I'm glad I know how to do that stuff and I didn't have to pay some huge amount of money for it..... I just had to go to work and be around people doing the job.

 

I, too, am a jack of a few trades.  I  know how to work on cars better than most ASE mechanics I've met.  I know how to work on computers better than most CompSci majors I've met.  I'm not saying this to give myself a handy in front of anyone, i'm saying this to hopefully inspire someone that thinks there isn't much out there unless you spend money and time on a classroom.

 

My ONLY credential saying I know how to do ANYTHING with computers officially is an AWS cert I studied for and got about 2 years ago.  I work with AWS every day, and was working with it way before I was certified so getting the cert was easy.  I think the only reason they hired me at the job I'm at now is because I had an AWS cert and they needed help getting their software into AWS.  By myself, i'm making over double what the HOUSEHOLD income for Austin, TX is and I'm not unhappy with where I am or how I got here.  If I had to give one tip to anyone right now about career advice it's that when you're young it's hard to know what will make you happy later on, so it's very near-sighted to cornhole yourself into a profession by choosing what you'll major in.  I'd advise people to go do some work in the world and then decide what they want to go to school for.

 

I currently want to just make enough money to buy a bunch of metal shop stuff so I can go live in the country and build stuff to sale.  I'd like to own enough land to have a shifter kart track and a drag strip.  I think it's doable, Texas is a big place.  Anyway, thanks for reading if you got this far.  🙂

 

 

If anyone has any questions feel free to DM me or ask them here, I haven't been bad at coaching people with career advice in the past.  I got one friend to double his salary in the course of about 2 years by pushing him to learn certain things and teaching him how to conduct himself in front of industry professionals.

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BFA in commercial photo.

 

I work with still cameras (35mm and Medium format) and lighting (strobe and continuous)

 

Don't really assist anymore but on occasion I pick up some side jobs here and there 

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I am a surveyor, I work primarily in the field but have a limited office skill set that I need to work on expanding in order to continue developing professionally.

 

I started in 2001 and have worked in both land development and construction with an emphasis on heavy civil construction. 

 

It has been all on the job training and self study for me, I really should get a bachelors but who can be fucked to go back to school at 40?

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Trade school, apprenticeship, journeyman, crew lead, supervisor, production manager. 

 

No student loans. 

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Cool, I have done some work at Boeing and always got a kick out of seeing the scale and operations. 

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Got my bachelors in Urban Studies and currently working Market Research in the media field. That’s about all I’m willing to share publicly. 

 

Super interesting hearing about your backgrounds though 

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1 hour ago, morton said:

Cool, I have done some work at Boeing and always got a kick out of seeing the scale and operations. 

4ft torque wrench is a trip to see. 

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3 hours ago, KILZ FILLZ said:

Trade school, apprenticeship, journeyman, crew lead, supervisor, production manager. 

 

No student loans. 

What type of production manager?

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8 minutes ago, misteraven said:

My dad is an a senior jet engine emergency support technician. 

My Dad owns Microsoft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry old joke I couldn’t help myself 

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1 minute ago, misteraven said:

Negaprops.

Well deserved. Nowadays the Xbox kids just swat your house 

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Heads up to all you guys lurking and not posting or even logging in... Nows your chance to register, login and drop a first post. This thread is definitely more interesting than I thought it would be so shout out to those posting.

 

Also a heads up that I might make the thread content member only, so you might as well get a head of it and register.

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Aimless drifter who got extremely lucky via a very good choice in property in the late 90's.

 

Spent about 4 years working in kitchens after dropping out of an arts degree to wash dishes for a living.

 

 Studied graphic design but never managed to get into the field
Became a bartender for three years at a divey barn (not a dive bar but a barn (1000 pax capacity) - the sort of place that large groups of office workers go for Friday beers and then clear out by 7:30pm)

 

 Moved to London, lied on a resume and got a job managing campaigns at a web portal. Got made redundant and got a media agency job doing the same shit but agency side. Moved back home and transferred to Sydney office but frustrated by lack of prospects jumped to another agency for a better role (I thought).

18 months later after learning it was so not a better role I quit and had another stab at graphic design study.

Got a job in a really bad firm, wasn't super motivated ( to be honest I was at peak of my 12oz participation at the time amongst some mental issues etc.) and got fired.

 This told me something I'd always privately known but never really admitted - I'm not that great at graphic design....

 

Freshly unemployed got some work processing orders by phone and online for a mail order pornography company, laying out catalogues and having sex with the fat girl who got me the job from time to time. I was always worried about the rules - "do not answer the door", "do not speak to the guys in the back area etc that after a few months I went on my big USA trip where I stayed pretty exclusively with oontzers barring the east coast.

 

Got a job in Rupert Murdoch's evil empire - handled two years before I got too burned out but the constant fuckwittery of the corporate life. 
I had a team lead who told me due to an error (that I freely admit I made) that I caused over 60 sales people to miss their commission for the quarter. 
I was in the process of apologising to one of the sales team when another manager overheard and said "WTF that has nothing to do with you - the whole team failed that error is peanuts" after walking around feeling terrible for weeks. 
Made a complaint then called him a prick publicly and got managed out of the job. Saw him one morning while unemployed waiting for panels to roll in to photo them for my zine and told him to fuck off

 

Ran an ad operations team for a smaller but very fun publisher for 5 years before committing career suicide by moving to this city.

 

 I now run campaigns for a small group in New Zealand who are becoming more and more corporate day by day due to being bought out. 
Shit sucks but at least I get to sit and watch freight trains if I feel the urge and keep pretty much my own hours. Plus three trips a year to NZ always helps

 

I'd love to make beautiful books on graffiti but lets face it I also like eating so that's got to be a side hustle. Have tried for years to get some interest in a Sydney graffiti history book but I wasn't around for the first few generations and I'm too peripheral a figure to have any clout so reaching out to people has led to too many closed doors
Tried to sell my zine after several years but you can't sell a zine regardless of how cheap if initially it was given out free.

 

 Skills: I can cut and paste and that seems to be the basis of 90% of my job

 I can dick around in various adobe stuff like the other 85% of the population.
 

Edited by Schnitzel
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Never finished highschool, floated around doing construction, retail, gym instructor, dairy hand (I shit you not) telecoms, sales, etc.

 

Spent years in the army as a paratrooper and gained some focus, since then earned a degree with a double major in Govt/international relations and sociology with a minor in psychology. Did an honours thesis on China's foreign and defence policy. Have worked a lot throughout East and Southeast Asia and the US. Learned some languages, did postgrad studies in policy making with a focus on international and national security, worked a lot in strategic forecasting and analysis. Now work in a university in a cell that assists with policy making.

 

Will do a PhD one day comparing China's Cold War policies and strategies to what they do today.

 

I still paint, only legally though as I'm nearly 50 and have more important things in life to focus on.

Edited by Hua Guofang
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Nice one @Hua Guofang

 

 

 

7 hours ago, morton said:

It has been all on the job training and self study for me, I really should get a bachelors but who can be fucked to go back to school at 40?

I'm a bit like that as well. Would like to go get some form of qualification but unsure where to start and what to do. 

 

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I went back to school in both my 30s and 50s. 

 

We do do training for govt folk here and people in roles where things constantly change (politics, tech, analytical techniques, etc.) are always learning. One of my superiors is late 50s, she just started her second masters. 

 

Just do it. Hit up TAFE, go to your local uni and ask questions. 

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13 hours ago, misteraven said:

My dad is an a senior jet engine emergency support technician. 

I noticed a forgot a comma in there and almost edited it but thought "nah it'll be aight" lol

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I forgot to tell a few things as well.  This thread has turned out REALLY good so far.  I'm impressed.

 

I, too, didn't finish highschool..... and I'll tell you why.  I was bored af.  Smoked pot probably the entire 10-12th grade and skipped class all the time to the point that my teachers would be smart asses to me when I did show up, "oh hey dhabz, thank you so much for joining us today...."   You know, that kind of stuff.  I didn't care.  I got told WAY too many times in school that I was too smart to not be applying myself, but if you want the honest truth..... I just didn't care about english class (and that may be obvious today lol).... or history.  I am MUCH more interested in these subjects now.

 

Anyway, the story of getting kicked out of highschool:

 

I had fucked off all the way until 12th grade and I wasn't going to graduate because I didn't have enough credits.  I got into the self paced program, kinda like a charter school within the public school.  All of our work was on computers.  To put this all in perspective, I was class of 2000.  This was around the time that trojans were pretty popular with programs like Sub7 being commonly used by computer people to do "fun" things.  My friend and I were in this class together and the teacher knew that I was very sharp with computers.  Without my knowledge, my friend had installed Sub7 on one of the lab computers and there was a girl working on her stuff and he made an inappropriate image come up on her screen.  I had no idea he even put that software on the computer or did this to that girl while she was working.

 

She reported it to the teacher immediately, the teacher.... without skipping a beat pointed me out and said "you did this, we're going to see the principal."  Blindsided by this, I was like wtf are you even talking about, I did not do that..... and that's when I made a huge mistake, but it may have been a blessing in disguise because it set me on the path to get where I am now.  I told the teacher "I wonder if those kids that shot up the school (columbine) were being treated like this."  I would never dream of hurting anyone but that was enough for him to say that I had made a bomb threat.  I know this story isn't dignifying and if I could apologize to that teacher today I would.  I was stupider then and shouldn't have speculated about such a dark subject.  I got kicked out of school on the spot, the principal opted to not involve the police (I didn't think they really had anything legal on me anyway).  I stayed in Austin for a few more months before moving to Dallas and starting another self paced program there.  This time was a little different, although I still wasn't interested in school work, i was just going to school to socialize with the other students basically.

 

The principal of that school pulled me in and told me "you're done, you're not making progress."  I walked across the street w/ my backpack and signed up to take the GED exam.  I spend the next 2 weeks taking the exam without studying.  My score was 2 points below what would have been required to be exempt from college entrance exams..... with no studying.  It was literally one or two questions wrong that would have been different.  In hindsight I'm also thankful that I didn't get exempt because if I had, I may have gone to school and my life would be way different now.  So anyway, that's how I got a "highschool" education.

 

I also poured concrete for about 2 years in Dallas.  That was a fun job because I worked with my friends.  All of the work we did was for subfloors, which are installed on 2nd through whatever story on buildings.  Basically it's a soft concrete layer that's poured on top of the plywood after it's sealed.  This concrete layer is what you attache the carpet pad to and then the carpet pad nail strips get put into it as well.  The subfloor breaking and a nail pulling out of the plywood beneath is almost always 100% of what causes a squeak in your apartment when you're walking through it.  The subfloor needs repair.  Anyway, so since these jobs were always on floors higher up than the 1st floor, you have to carry 80lb bags of gypsum concrete up to the work area for mixing...... well, we would challenge eachother to see who could carry the most bags at once up the stairs.  Totally stupid, the boss probably wouldn't have been excited but he was never on the job site with us so it didn't matter.  We did that shit all the time.  I think the most I could ever do was 320lbs total, which isn't that great but I was around 21 at the time..... so maybe it was great.

Another job I did that was pretty fun was installing Maytags.  I did this for the first shop in Texas that sold Maytags in Texas..... the train would stop right behind the shop and unload the new units right into the back of the warehouse..... that stopped happening long before I worked there.  Anyway, installing and servicing appliances in the DFW area was fun.  I got to meet a lot of cool people with "old money" in the area.  It wasn't uncommon for elderly women to have cookies for me an my coworker because they were repeat customers and knew that we'd be the ones showing up to work on their appliances.  We got offered beer by guys a whole lot.  I learned a bit of carpentry because under/over ovens NEVER install in the same hole you pulled the old one out of.  You always have to do fitment to make it right.  I learned a little bit of electrical work, even though I'm still rightfully scared of it.  I'd probably make a good electrician because of my fear of getting shocked.  Oh, that reminds me..... I used to always wait until my coworker was fixin to put something together with a wirenut or something and then i'd go "BBBBBXXXZZZZZZZZZZZ" real loud.  He never appreciated that lol..... I always appreciated it.  Funny every time.... I'm a terrible coworker.  Lol.

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@Dirty_habiTmy high school story is somewhat similar. I actually got kicked out of junior high first. literally never went and just didn't care. half the time we'd go to this weird abandoned house that mostly still had furniture and fuck around all day. or just bolt and take the city bus. the junior high school I went to was pretty shitty and as long as whatever you did wasn't violent, they sort of mostly just let you be and go through the motions. then ended up at a better junior high, but barely improved. didn't really skip quite so much, but didnt give it much effort. got more into skating around that time cause the kids I skated with were at that school, so we were the dickheads in the back of the class.

 

by high school I took a turn for the worse in that it was the transition from junior high to high school that I started getting into graffiti. plus kids had cars. so we'd skip school, hit burger king for the french toast sticks and then go rack paint. the school was pretty big, something like 3000+ kids so there was three lunch waves. Was pretty awesome having a 2.5+ hour lunch pretty much every day, which came at the expense of math and science. when I did show up to math one time, I wasn't even in the teachers book anymore, so got sent to general math, which was a step above special ed. between graffiti and punk shit, hanging out with @dekayfabasically every day, I started getting into fights all the time. mostly a group of skin head kids, with one kid in particular. I must of fought that kid over a hundred times since we were pretty evenly matched. first day of school, I kicked the crap out of him during lunch by the lunch trucks so that evening for back to school orientation he's giving me the stink eye during the orientation while were both sitting with our moms.

 

at some point I ended up meeting some hardcore girl that went to a private school. Dekay had gotten himself kicked out for yet another school year and ended up in alternative school which he wanted. he was a model student there just by bringing a pen to class and got along good with all the hood kids. shortly after I got myself kicked out of school and decided I wasn't down to go to alternative school with him, so I just stayed home. this was like a third of the way into 11th grade. after a few weeks of doing nothing, the hardcore chick that I was dating by that point, invited me to the open house at her school as an excuse to hangout. it was a small parochial school (though they didn't so much push religion as they did decency and morality), with maybe 400 total students in grade 6 - 12. at my old HS, classes were 45 - 60 kids so a teacher wouldn't know your name even by the end of the semester. if you showed up late, sometimes there wasn't even a chair / desk. its was probably 90%+ latin, so there was so many kids with the same first and last name, that you had to write your student number every time you wrote your name on anything.

 

anyhow, I go to open house, which is basically me shadowing a student for the day. it was so small and tight knit that it was a no brainer for my gf to ask the headmaster to let me shadow her. what I wasn't expecting was that at some point I had to take an entrance exam, but whatever... did my best so I didnt embarrass her and enjoyed the change of pace and hanging out. I was also pretty fascinated by classrooms that had like 6 - 10 people max and teachers that seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the stuff they were teaching. during lunch kids either played basketball or lacrosse; i'd never seen lacrosse before, so the whole thing was like another world. parents volunteering, teachers sitting with students helping them with stuff and students that seemed calm and mostly focused.

 

so next day I get a call from the headmaster that he wants to see me. I enjoyed the day before and figured it was another chance to hang with my gf so I showed up. so the headmaster wants to see me personally and starts sort of interviewing me. straight up I told him my parent are broke is fuck and there's zero chance of me paying any tuition at all to go to private school. instead he's asking me about my background and then finally starts asking me about the test I took. said I was off the charts on some parts and failed miserably at other parts and that he'd never seen anything like that before and wanted to know my story. again, didn't want to embarrass my gf, but at that point really didn't give a shit about anything and had zero to lose as there was zero chance of me going to a private school. I didn't have a lot of experience with adults talking to me with obvious respect and genuine interest, so I told my story and answered his questions. was probably with him for a couple hours and apparently made an impression. he understood the position I was in and was respectful about it and at the end of our talk said that he'd love to have me at the school. that it was halfway through the school year and that salaries and budgets were settled and one extra kid wouldn't make a difference. he said if I could figure out the white polo shirt and khakis, that he'd even float the jacket and tie. but he was pretty firm about the fact that if he felt I was blowing off the opportunity I was being offered, that he'd terminate the agreement. 

 

I was really blown away that someone like that would take interest in me like that. between him and some of the teachers that were just as nice to me, I really gave it my best effort. I had struggled with math my entire life and the math teacher saw something in me I hadn't known of. I didn't know how to play lacrosse and I was also weary of the students because their lifestyles were so foreign... they were always cool to me, but going fishing in Bimini or attending gold fund raisers was way outside my reality. So I mostly ate lunch with the math teacher who enjoyed watching the basketball games during lunch. he started tutoring me during lunch and showed me a different approach to math that suddenly made it all make sense. I started doing really great in math and since the school had such a wide range of grades, accelerated through the levels until I was in a solid place for 11th grade (for reference, the AP math kids doing advanced Calculus were in the same class room and were taught separately than the rest of the class that might have been Algebra 2. in fact, those students often tutored the ones that weren't as far as along). I got to be super cool with a history teacher, which was considered the only true hardass in the school. He was especially strict and taught the class as is he was raising the next generation of political elite (and probably was). but his approach to history wasnt memorizing dates and names, but rather deep diving into the catalyst and context of historical events. I enjoyed his classes immensely and I assume he knew my story and greatly respected my efforts. I studied extra and would often get ahead so I was able to string events together and just got really great at his class. got bumped to AP history and still did awesome. also took AP art, which to me was an easy A and just a chance to relax. teacher was nice and was always super impressed with my work, which was pretty well dialed in from years of graffiti.

 

so end of year, the headmaster calls me in and said he's spoken to all my teachers and even some students and that I'd exceeded his expectations. said I was welcome to come back, but only if I agreed to drop back a grade because my education before that was so dismal that I wasn't in a place to be applying to college. further, I'd have to go to summer school and take some college classes to help make up for the huge gaps in my education. at that point I wasn't really thinking about college, but I did want to come back so we shook hands on it and I got to come back on a scholarship for that next year. by then I was a solid A/B student taking regular math, but AP everything else. half way through the year, still eating lunches with my math teacher, he tells me I should apply to colleges despite what I was told. I really wasn't sure what it entailed or what I wanted to do... total dumbass, but I trusted him and started reviewing options. I loved history, so thought I'd be a history major with the intent to maybe go to law school after earning a degree. so I ended up applying to a few colleges, which was submitting apps and doing the essays. after a while, it was time to submit transcripts so I went back to the math teacher saying I wasn't sure what to do. he called a meeting with the headmaster, then a second one that included me. since he was so highly respected at the school, he won over the headmaster by lobbying that I had exceeded all expectations and then again the next year and that I was ready to move on the next year. so the three of us literally sat around and essentially invented an entire transcript (insane and nothing I can imagine happening today). they asked if I spoke another language (I grew up speaking Portuguese), so they said to go to the local college, have a conversation with the head of that department and get a letter stating I was proficient... Bam, 4 years of A/B grades in a foreign language! then, take the SAT and combined with that score and the track record I had at this new school, they came up with years worth of English, Math and Science grades. Go volunteer and they added community service. basically an entire HS transcript based upon 1.5 years worth of what I did since I got there. meanwhile, every day my art teacher is lobbying me, the head master and my newly appointed college counselor that I needed to be applying to art school. that I had too much talent to not think about a creative career. headmaster and college counselor said that it would be a smart strategic decision as a safety. that I could get in on art, focus on liberal arts and then move laterally into another degree. so I applied to a few more schools.

 

in the end, I got into every college I applied to. I received scholarships to three of them, including a full scholarship to the school I ended up at, which they only offer 3 of per class (ironically at the college fair I went to, the people representing the school said I probably shouldn't apply as it didn't seem like I was the right ft). a second school, which was a liberal arts college, offered me a full ride, off campus housing and extra money for books and food because they were trying to build up their visual arts programs and really wanted me to attend. it was a pretty wild ride in hindsight and I guess an early example of yet another unorthodox path that seems most of my life so far has been. I'm eternally grateful to those people and recognize in hindsight how critical that juncture in my life was. to this day, it seems like divine intervention as it's almost unbelievable to me, how far out on a limb some people went for me.

 

Being honest, I'm not sure I'd have followed the college path if I had the benefit of hindsight at that time. I certainly acknowledge that it gave me discipline and continued to cultivate the desire to dig deep and pull out my best effort, but I also see that in terms of my career, the degree itself isn't really worth much. in the years since, and especially when running a creative agency in downtown NYC, I've reviewed portfolios and talked to young people trying to decide which course to take with a creative based profession and believe that there's obvious career choices that require college, but that creative degrees aren't one of them. that rather than do 4 years of college, you'd be far better served if you beg your way into an internship at a respectable agency, because if you stick out the 4 years, not only will you have zero dept, you'll likely be earning a healthy salary. that if you pay the types of dues required to excel and standout in college, that you'll not only have a viable portfolio after 4 years of working at an agency, but that it would be real world work and likely of a caliber that far exceeds even good student work. I'm not saying don't go to college, only that college is a major investment and that it should be scrutinized very carefully and with as much objectivity as possible. that in many instances, you'll see more personal and professional growth in the real world and that the $200k or so spent, would serve you far better if invested in other ways. this is particularly important these days, when many studies are showing that average increase in salary for a degree holder will often not result in a return of the value of the education across an entire career. again, not throwing that out as a blanked statement, but just saying that there's an intense social pressure for young kids to run off to college by default. many of those educations are just a continuation of high school and the "college experience" is a disingenuous selling point to sell services that simply aren't worth the cost of admission. like all significant investments of time and money, people really need to be honest about the return on investment, as well as explore their options and make an informed decision.

 

sorry for the long post. hopefully it was entertaining or informative.

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