Friday, March 04, 2016


He asked what I made of the other students so I told him. They were okay, but they were all very similar; they struggled to have different opinions because they'd never failed at anything or been nobodies, and they thought they would always win. But this isn't most people's experience of life. He asked me what could be done about it. I told him the answer was to send them all out for a year to do some dead-end job like working in a chicken processing plant or spreading muck with a tractor. It would do more good than a gap year in Peru. He laughed and thought this tremendously witty. It wasn't meant to be funny.

- From The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks


Steve said...

When I left high school in the early 1970s I had a job in a local factory while I started taking college classes at night. I spent about four years in that factory,starting in maintenance, mostly sweeping floors in the machine shop, a never ending task, and eventually moving to shipping, then receiving, and finally product testing. I never thought my time in the factory wasted. I learned a lot about work and about people and about myself. One of the things I learned there is that I very much wanted to finish college!

Michael Wade said...


That's a great example of the value of experience.

I think there is a lot to be said for taking at least a year between high school and college and working at any job. A similar gap between college and grad school could be beneficial.

The real world teaches lasting lessons.