Third year at School

The New England Graduate—A College Education in View—How a Student Works his Way in College—His Decision—Latin and Greek—Joining the Disciples’Church—His Eloquence—A Born Preacher—View of Teachers and Scholars—Seeking Work— Amusing Incident with a Farmer—Work and Pay—A Query Answered—The Anti-slavery Conflict—His Hatred of Slavery— Discussion against Slavery in the School Lyceum—His Companions Jubilant over his Success—The Charming Young Lady and James—The Student of Eclectic Institute—James Turned to it—Closing Connection with Geauga Seminary—His First Oration —Journey with his Mother to Muskingum County—First Railroad Seen—State Capitol—James Teaches School at Harrison—Return Home

James spent three years at Geauga Seminary, including school-keeping in winter. It was during his last term there that he met a young man who was a graduate of a New England college. James had never thought of extending his education so far as a college course. He scarcely thought it was possible, in his extreme poverty, to do it.

“You can do it,” said the graduate. “Several students did it when I was in college. I did it, in part, myself.”

“How could I do it?” inquired James.

“In the first place,” answered the graduate, “there is a fund in most of the New England colleges, perhaps in all of them, the income of which goes to aid indigent students. It is small, to be sure, but then every little helps when one is in a tight place. Then there is a great call for school-teachers in the winter, and college students are sought after.”

“How much is the annual expense, to an economical student?” asked James.

“It varies somewhat in different colleges, though two hundred dollars a year, not including apparel, could be made to cover the running yearly expenses, I think. A young man would be obliged to be very saving in order to do it.”

“I am used to that,” added James. “They say that ‘necessity is the mother of invention,’ and I have invented a good many ways of living cheaply.”

“I have known students to obtain jobs of work in term time—those who know how to do certain work,” continued the graduate. “I knew a student who took care of a man’s garden two summers, for which he received liberal pay. I knew one who taught a gentleman’s son in the place an hour or so every day, for which he was paid well. The boy was in delicate health, not able to enter a school for hard study. I have known students to get jobs of the faculty, about the college buildings. I knew one student who sawed wood for his fellow-students in the fall and winter terms, and he was one of the best scholars in his class. He was very popular, too, and was honoured for his perseverance in acquiring an education. I think that he must have paid half his bills by sawing wood.”

James began to see further than he did. In his imagination he began to picture a college building at the end of his career. It was further off than he had intended to go in the way of study, but the way before him seemed to open up to it. What he supposed was impossible now appeared among possibilities.

“What is the shortest time that it would require me to prepare and get through college?” James asked further.

“The necessary time is four years in preparation, and four years in college,” the graduate answered. “Some students shorten the preparatory course, and enter college one year in advance.”

I should have to lengthen it in order to earn the money to pay my way,” responded James. “I would be willing to undertake it, if I could get through in twelve years, and pay all my bills.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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