The Basis For My Experience
Thankfully, I love to read. My mother instilled that in me by reading to me regularly. She claims that she started reading to me not long after I was born. This closing stanza from a poem by Strickland Gillian is one that I heard years ago that stuck with me as a tribute to my mother’s efforts that left an impression on me.
have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.
My love for reading helped me acquire the knowledge to deal with the inevitable technical problems that I came up against making pottery. It also helped in acquire some business skills that I needed, but I never felt it was enough.
In the early 1970s, after graduating from high school, I took classes at SAC for a couple of years, but when I discovered pottery in the second year, I focused exclusively on that. Having a second business made me realize that I needed to expand my knowledge. It was fine to be self-taught, but sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. That is what I told a friend when I told him that I was going back to school. He said, “you’ve had an education.”
Back To School
In the spring of 1993, I decided to take some classes to help me with my two businesses. I signed up for a marketing class at San Antonio College. The following fall, I transferred to UTSA, and for several years I took an assortment of classes, usually two a semester. Sometimes, they were business-related or just something of interest, such as investing. When I married Cynthia, she said, “If you are going to take all these classes, why don’t you get a degree.” I had avoided working toward a degree because I didn’t want to take classes I didn’t think I was interested in taking. Still, I had taken a couple of accounting classes just before we married in the fall of 1998, and they had pushed me to study harder than I ever had. It felt good to succeed in those courses.
I decided to get a degree in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship. It took me 11 years to finish that degree from 1998 to 2009. There were some false starts, like when I took Algebra and Calculus for Business and had to drop the course to take a class to get me up to speed in Algebra.
Sometime You Know More than the Professor
It was interesting to sit in classes and realize that some professors didn’t know what they were talking about. For example, one professor said that it was much easier to have a business as a sole proprietor than be incorporated. I pointed out some of the benefits of being a Sub-Chapter S corporation, like keeping personal property separate from your business.
In 2009, I graduated Cum Laude and joked that I received the “better late than never” award for being the oldest graduate that year. I thought I was finished with going to school, but God had other plans.