Initiative is all it takes to earn money for college

Jasen Williams Teen Columnist, The Friday Flyer.

Jasen Williams
Teen Columnist, The Friday Flyer.

Funding is a fairly prominent consideration when deciding post high school actions. Whether it be college, building a career, or other programs, money is most always a part of the equation.

The fortunate side is that there are almost too many opportunities, if you will only attend to them.

There are two main categories from which one can obtain funding: scholarships and actual jobs.

“No kidding,” says the sceptic.

But seriously! There are scholarships for everything from best pumpkin carvings to best poetry to best plan for water conservation. You don’t even need to be attending college for some of these scholarships, though more are available to those who are.

When I was a sophomore, my mom signed me up for this website: At first, I was somewhat annoyed, mostly due to the fact that fastweb sends you roughly 50 emails a week. Other than furthering the argument for a separate email for college and graduation emails, I didn’t see a point to it.

But once I actually checked it out, a whole new world was opened up! It has long lists of scholarships – everything from enter once to win, contests for best plan for fire prevention, and contests for best face paint.

Do you like politics? There are dozens of those opportunities for anyone who can argue for an idea well; and by argue I mean intellectually and constructively discuss. Are you Korean? There is a Korean ancestry scholarship.

I experienced an ironic situation when I submitted a poem for a poetry contest. Though it was the second poem that I had ever written, the site sent me a letter in the mail saying that I was a semi-finalist in the contest, and that I had the opportunity to include my poem in a book of poetry coming out soon. I was astonished. As most all of my friends and family will affirm, I am one of the least artful and poetic person you will meet.

While I am still waiting to hear whether or not I am among the top hundred contestants, having my poem published in a book in light of my lack of experience showed just how many opportunities will present themselves if you will just try your hand at it.

As one of my soccer teammates told me before he left, “With those scholarship sites, you could make $1,000 for that one hour you spend working on it”.

While I knew that the time factor was flexible, the message got across. What if you spend one day working on that one paper during spring break? I don’t know of many teens who can say they made a thousand bucks in a day.

Let’s talk about jobs. Like many things, there are so many options. I have many friends who have gone to work at fast food or drink shops. There are also those who want to get some practical experience in their future careers, and have subsequently worked for tax consultants, shadowed doctors, and interned at law offices.

Others will even begin investing. For those with a bit of time and money, this option has worked really well. My father once worked with a gentleman who, while in his teens, bought a few shares of a small little company named Apple. As you can imagine, it was a good choice.

Apparently there used to be a class in schools called “Shop Class.” It covered things like automotive maintenance, household skills, woodworking, and leatherworking. For those who aren’t excited about English, science or math, there are other skills that the world needs – you just need to find and cultivate yourself in them.

The common theme that I hope you are seeing is that each of these options require initiative; very rarely is something going to fall into your lap. Whenever opportunities do fall into someone’s lap, it’s most often because they were sitting down to work on something else in the first place. Even if you simply keep an open mind and good attitude, people seem to be willing to train and cultivate new talent if the willing and grateful initiate is there.

Of course, you are only in high school once, so make the most of it! To make the most of the rest of your life, maybe look into preparing yourself. Everything in moderation, right?


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