What job could a high school student possibly have that will pay nearly $60,000.00? You’re thinking that it must be something illegal, like dealing drugs or giving lap dances, right?
No. The best job that a high school student can have is one where she doesn’t even have to leave the comfort of her own home. What job am I talking about? The job is…school. School? Yes, school. Let me tell you why.
In just a few short weeks, my oldest baby girl will be graduating from college, but I need to start this story from the beginning. I find it quite fitting that her graduation happens to fall on the twenty-second anniversary of my discovering that I was pregnant with her after six years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive. I remember when I took her home from the hospital on my twenty-sixth birthday, laid her in her bassinet in the living room of our tiny townhouse, and wept. I looked at her chubby little cheeks and realized that I had just opened myself up to the biggest heartache ever…one day she would grow up and leave me. Like they say in the movie Return to Peyton Place, “the love between a parent and a child is the only love that should grow toward separation.” Pathetic, I know, but true when you think about it.
I am rendered speechless when I realize how quickly the time has passed between that surreal moment when the nurse handed her to me in the hospital and now. As if her childhood didn’t pass by quickly enough, she is speeding up the process by graduating college after only three years. How? Because instead of spending her high school days rushing home from a long day only to turn around and head out the door again to go to work at a minimum wage job, she approached her time in high school as a career. She didn’t flip burgers or work a cash register. She studied, and it paid off big time. As a result of her treating her career as a high school student as a serious profession, she is not only shaving a year off of college, but she is also saving herself a year’s tuition – nearly $60K. Tell me what job she could have possibly had in high school that would have paid her that much money. You can’t.
Both of my girls have always been over-achievers and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. They both were born with the intrinsic desire to be the very best at everything they set out to do. My husband and I never pushed them or threatened them or bribed them to do well in school. They just don’t know any other way to exist other than to give it all they’ve got and then some. Just like a parent with a child who is sports-driven sacrifices both time and money to support her in her athletic endeavors, my husband and I sacrificed to support our girls’ careers as high school students. We didn’t have to pay for uniforms or team dues; instead, we put gas in their cars and bought study guides. They attended prom and hung out with their friends, but just like a student athlete has to sacrifice some fun to focus on her sport, our girls knew when they needed to say no to a fun time and buckle down.
The pay check for my daughter came in the form of her scores on the Advanced Placement exams. I cannot begin to profess that I know any of the ins and outs of how colleges figure out how to apply high school credits to meet college requirements; I can only speak from my daughter’s experience. She took as many Advanced Placement classes as were offered to her at school, applied herself, and did well on the AP exams. Based on the number of courses she took and the scores she received, she was able to fulfill a year’s worth of her college’s requirements.
Some people may say, “Why rush your life? Enjoy college!” but my daughter quenched all of her thirsts by grasping every opportunity that college life had to offer her. There isn’t one more experience that she possibly could have had that would justify staying one additional year and paying all that money in tuition and fees. She won’t be graduating debt-free, but she will be graduating with less debt than necessary. While she was enduring her excruciatingly challenging time in high school, little did she know that her hard work would pay off in the end.