Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Needing Help from My Bloggy Friends

I am in specific need of a specific kind of help. I need to receive some stories from you of people who were not successful in school who became successful in life. N is not very good at academics. He tries hard, but he struggles to get anything but barely passing grades. He has other talents like sports and the arts but academics aren’t his thing. I come from a family of above average intelligence, non-athletic, non-artistic, very academic types. That doesn’t make my family of origin anything but different from what N is, and I don’t have personal experience from which to draw when reassuring N that he can indeed be successful in life without being an academic whiz kid.

So people of the blogosphere I need stories – stories of people in the real world who couldn’t make a good grade in school in spite of their best efforts who found their niche in life and have become a success. By success I don’t mean monetarily, I mean living a fulfilled life with a career they enjoy and not feeling “less than” in the world because they didn’t stack up academically. I know there are people out there with these types of life stories. I know that not every successful person is a college graduate doing a job that requires a strong academic background. I need to be able to share that with N to be able to say to him that yes, I do actually know people that make it just fine without academic excellence.

It makes me sad to realize that for the most part I surround myself only with college educated academic nerdy types. Birds of a feather I guess. I hope that nothing I’ve said here comes across as arrogant. It is not intended that way. I, and the family into which I was born, just happen to have been blessed with intelligence. That happens to be our talent in life. Although I wouldn’t trade my intelligence for more athleticism or more artistic ability it is not because I do not value those things but simply because I have learned to use my talent in a way that works for me. My hope is that in spite of not having the same talents as N that I can help N use his talents in a way that works for him, but what I know is how to be successful using academic talent. I need to know how those with athletic or artistic talents put those talents to use in being successful short of the high profile celebrity ways.

I’m counting on you, my bloggy friends, to help me with this. Share your athletic, artistic, non-academic success stories. Help me help N. Thanks.

On another note, there's still time to Ask Trueself Anything. I'll probably be posting answers this Friday or Saturday for those of you impatiently waiting.


Sailor said...

My oldest friend married a guy, who was the classic "failure" in school- he struggled with every subject, math, english, social studies, shop; nothing was his 'thing', at all. There was no question of going to college, for him, not happening, no way.

What he *did* do, is hunt- he loved it, was good at it. So, he turned that love of hunting and some collateral skills he'd developed, into a job and later a business-

As a butcher/meat cutter, for the grocery stores and later for his own meat market.

He's happy, has three great kids, and you couldn't possibly find a more contented guy, in terms of his job and recreation.

Umm, another? Guy I know, is a dispatcher for the emergency services in the village. Grew up on a farm, and yeah, as late as the 70's, was one of the guys that made it through the eighth grade.

Never went to high school, although he did get tutoring at one point, in order to take and pass (well!) his exam for the emergency services.

Married to one of the town cops, has 2 kids, 3 or 4 grandchildren- and loving his life.

Good luck with N, it's great that you recognize that we can all have different strengths. Whew, long comment! Let us know how it goes!

Serenity said...

School is set up for a very specific and i think narrow demographic, the system is designed much more for girls than boys. Consider alternative schools. Definitely consider valuing non-school-related methods of evaluating success.
All school really prepares you for is institutional living, i.e. prison or the nuthouse. Gee, do i sound like a thwarted homeschooler or what??
My youngest happens to be breezing through middle school getting mostly A's and a couple of B's, without even trying. Does that mean he's going to be a success in life, or is it just setting him up to think coasting through life is okay? Do i have a point here? Oh, i know, my point is, moms are going to worry no matter what. It's never easy, this parenting thing. Sigh.

ambz said...

Jack Horner is one who failed miserably in school and is now one of the most well-known paleontologists in America.



Val said...

Ummmm [fellow nerd thinking hard] - my ex-husband?!?!? Barely made it out of HS, took a few yrs to see the world & "find himself", then he married me & went back to college, submerged as we were at the time in the pursuit of my academic & professional training.
But then again, I don't think I'd hold him up as a shining beacon of moral integrity no matter what material success he's attained, so nevermind!

Val said...

Seriously, though, one of the all-around nicest guys I know found his true calling as an automotive mechanic... I'm sure N will find his niche.

Tracie said...

My uncle had to go into the service or do prison time. This was probably 50 years ago. He found his niche in the Air Force and worked his way up to colonel. He retired from the service at 48 and went to work for Boeing for the next 10 years.
He and his wife also raised a family of 4 children who all became successful adults.
He retired very wealthy and very happy.

Anonymous said...

Great post buddy ....Really the school days are the best days of life...The content of the post was really nice...we are trying to reunite school friends through our website to share their fond memo

Reuniting friends

Fusion said...

I struggled with many courses in HS, esp math and english, took a little Jr College, but dropped out when I got married and started raising a family. Never was wealthy, but did OK working in retail, esp the last eight years with the phone company. I plan to go back to selling cell phones if I can, or selling something because I'm good at it. And I'm still working on my photography business because I love it, and hope in time it will provide me the income to do it full time.
So I guess N, the trick is to find something that makes you really happy, and do it the best you can. My grandfather always told me if you give it a 110%, you'll do well and always have work. Seems to have worked for me!

Nancy said...

My brother! He was an earnest student, but never made grades, unlike his 3 little sisters who all ended up with graduate degrees. But you know, in LIFE, he's probably more successful than all three of us girls. At 51 he's still married to the girl he met at 14 and married at 22. Has lived in the same (paid for) house since he was 24. He owns his own business and is the only child of four who still lives in the hometown to take care of our aging parents. He has something more important than book smarts . . he has life smarts.

Bunny said...

I wish I had a great story for you, but I don't. I was the exact opposite: academic overachiever, total slacker in real life. Never lived up to my potential, a teacher might say.

I might say my sister, if she hadn't been unemployed for over a year now. She barely graduated high school (school wouldn't have been hard for her if partying hadn't been so easy), but made a good living for herself and her son as a forklift driver. Then she got laid off last year. She went back to school courtesy of NAFTA (they have re-education provisions for workers who lose their jobs to Canada or Mexico). She graduated her medical assistant training (she wanted to go to nursing school, but the wait list was 2 years) at the top of her class and got rave reviews from her internship in a pediatric office. But she can't find a job. They all want at least one year experience, but she can't get that much experience unless she gets a job!

Many, many, many of the military (active and retired) folks who live in my area did not do well in school, but are great with hands-on things. The military provided them with the skills and experience to do very well in life. That might be an excellent route for N (go Air Force - less combat possibilities).

freebird said...

Aha! Struck a chord here, TS, you've come to the right person!

At school there were the things I was good at and the things I was hopeless at! Not much in between.
I wasn't much good at the academic side of things, unless you count English. I was, however, pretty good at art - well, all the artsy, creative things really - and always knew I was going to be an artist of some sort.

I received NO encouragement from my head-mistress who actually said to me one day when it came to choosing courses: "What good is art?"!!!

I didn't go to college, but touted my illustrations around publishing houses and the like in London for a while, then went on to learn the ropes and climb quite quickly up the ranks in a couple of design studios, very soon becoming freelance and running my own one-girl business. Eventually, we moved out to the sticks and you know about the other business I had, but I still kept the design thing ticking over, teaching myself in the early 90s to switch from manual to computer generated design. I've often had more work than I could cope with. I wouldn't say I ever struck gold exactly, probably because I'm too laid back about money (a slight failing with some arty types) but I managed to keep the wolf from the door! Art is in my body and soul and there is no question of my ever not doing it in some form.

Good luck N!

Trueself said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I knew my wonderful bloggy friends would come through for me.

My apologies for not taking the time to thank you each individually here, but I'm so far behind on actually responding to comments that I'm afraid a group
will have to do.