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The Old-Fashioned Way
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Years ago, more than I care to count, I arrived on Stanford University's doorstep with two 100-dollar bills and the determined desire for a four-year degree. At the ripe old age of 16. At that time, Stanford was the most expensive college in the country, costing thousands of dollars just for tuition.

Everything I owned was in the suitcase at my feet and in the knowledge in my brain. When you're 16, you don't know it can't be done, you don't know how hard it's going to be, so you go out and do it. You can be intrepid at 16.

If it were today, I would immediately say that I would have to work for a dozen years just to save up enough for my freshman year. But I didn't know any better, didn't know it couldn't be done, so I got a job (two part time jobs, actually) and went to school full time, at the end of my junior year lacking only one credit to graduate then.

Days were elastic back back in those days--they stretched in some magical way so work and studying both got done (though I must admit I didn't study as much as I should have and sometimes fell asleep in large lecture classes). My social life was extremely limited.

I often tell people I earned my degree the old fashioned way--I worked for it. I even paid my mother's phone bill back home in Connecticut so she and I could talk once a week.

It wasn't possible and I still don't understand how I did it. I don't venture out nowadays without a full tank of gas and a fistful of credit cards (well, two). Maybe it really can't be done and the whole memory is just an ancient hand-rolled smoke dream.

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