There is a lot to be said about education. Education comes in many ways. We have schools, universities, books, online media and life itself as lessons. Some lessons are welcome, others are hard to take.

This week my wife and I are dog sitting. Her Auntie and uncle left their two dogs in our care, and the first day went great. The dogs were happy and seemed fine. Unfortunately yesterday evening, their little one, a pug, died.

As dog lovers it was hard for us to take. I made the phone call to her Auntie to inform her and her Uncles father stopped by to pick up the body and lay her to rest.

In hindsight, had we known more about the pug breed, we would have kept her in the house the majority of the day instead of outside with the other dogs. Every one that we have spoken to has said it wasn’t our fault and that no one could have known that she would over heat and have trouble breathing. Before she died she had spent the majority of the afternoon in the air conditioned house, and indeed had plenty of water.

I take great pride in doing things well and taking care of animals and objects in my possession. My lab/collie mix is always well fed and I constantly check that his food and water bowl are topped up throughout the day. I find it very hard to accept that a family’s dog who was only dropped off at our house 24 hours before could fall ill and die so quickly in our possession.

When the little dog started to struggle breathing we contacted her Auntie and other friends and family who know more about pugs, we found out that this was normal, that they are prone to overheating and having respiratory problems. No one seemed to worry about her and told us just to lay her next to an AC vent and let her cool down. I even put a little cold water on her and pet her to calm her down. Her breathing slowed down a little and we were assured by our family members that she would be fine after a good long rest.

I went outside to mix some cement and work on some brickwork while my wife sorted out her garage sale items from the morning, while keeping an eye on the little dog. Only a few minutes later Brooke came running outside and told me that the little pug wasn’t breathing. To my shock I found her laying stiff on the ground where I had left her. I tried to resuscitate her, but it was too late. She was dead.

My wife wanted to take her to the vet but I informed her it was too late, and that she was gone. She began crying and I dialed her Aunties number to inform her. At first she thought I was kidding, and I gravely informed her that much to our shock, she had passed away. She told us it wasn’t our fault and that it shocked her as much as it did us.

In hindsight, had we know that pugs were prone to respiratory problems and over heating, we would never have let her back outside with the other dogs that afternoon. Life’s hard lesson yesterday is that you should always educate yourself on the particular breed you are looking after.

While everyone has told us it wasn’t our fault, part of the blame will always be on us. Our ignorance was a contributing factor in her death, and that is a hard truth to swallow.

One of the other hard factors to accept is that humans themselves bred these little creatures to have these ailing features to begin with. After the fact, we learned that pugs are prone to many health problems. Wikipedia lists paragraphs to health issues attributed to pugs.

What a shame that this little dog died while in our care. We are truly sorry for her demise. Life is full of hard lessons like this.

Education comes in many forms. Sometimes we go out of our way to take on the lessons, other times the lessons come crashing into reality without invite.

Though we easily could have, my wife and I did not go to college. In hindsight, I kind of wish I had continued my education in England and gotten by bachelors degree before moving to the States. But what I realized before I moved here was that I was trying to maintain a long distance relationship, and that I needed to make money in order to pay for expensive flights twice a year, and to build savings to eventually move here. I also needed enough time each evening to talk to Brooke online and to play online multi-player games in order to have little adventures to keep our relationship alive during the months apart.

The reason for obtaining a degree in most instances is to gain a successful career and make a decent salary to support your life’s endeavors.

While it is true that many of the most successful people on the planet never went to college, the vast majority of people who do go, make more money in their lifetimes than those who do not further their education.

When I first moved here Brooke and I began working full time while living in her parents basement. While we had toyed with the idea of moving to England for our early 20’s and studying and traveling through Europe during our off time, we eventually decided to stay in the States and get our life started here. We had grand plans and wanted to buy a nice big house and live the creative lifestyle.

About a year after moving here, and once I had obtained my permanent residence card, we went on a tour of Miami University with the full intention of studying there. It was only about a 35 minute drive from her parents house and had an excellent campus and curriculum.

After we had concluded our tour and had browsed the facilities and study courses we inquired about the tuition rates. To our shock and dismay the prices were astronomical. When we returned home I began researching other universities in the area, and then began looking at online universities. To our chagrin, all of the universities in the United States, every single one of them, was far too expensive.

I’ve mentioned before in a previous article that my best friend growing up, went on to go to Cambridge University, arguably the best University on the planet, and definitely in the top five, of which the likes of Oxford, Harvard and Yale are a part of. When speaking to him last year he said his tuition was only around 3000 pounds a year (roughly $5000) and that was without a scholarship.

How is it that my best friend can go to Cambridge University for less money than the lowest ranked University’s in the States charges per term?

Well, one simple word can answer that: government.

Unfortunately for my generation, government has gotten its grubby little hands in all the pies. It ensures that loans will be given to students, and so universities, knowing that many people including myself want to obtain a better education will pay however much they charge to obtain it.

Where I differ is that I actually understand economics, and know that this bubble is unsustainable. Unfortunately in the mean time I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I can get a college education, and end up in more debt than I owe on my house, while being able to make more money at my career. Or I can struggle at work, in a lower position, surrounded by people who are less intelligent that me, while knowing that I am capable of much more.

This is the conundrum that many in my age group now face. We can either go into massive debt with the off chance we’ll make more money in our careers (which isn’t guaranteed, particularly in this current economy) or we can struggle with the rest of the crowd for positions which need no more than a high school diploma, and work positions which are easier and pay less.

The only other option we face, is to create for ourselves an alternative education. We can use the tools provided to us through the internet and the great works presented through hundreds of years of study and philosophy to subsidize our lack of options elsewhere.

Our only real option is to select that which empowers us and start from there. Indeed the greatest achievers in life are the ones who never stop learning.

The only way to make any real money (without drowning in debt in the process) is to start a business. While even this has its costs, it is the only way for my generation to move forward until the college bubble collapses, and the Universities catch up to the modern form of education.

No longer are brick and mortar foundations needed for a good education. You can now learn everything you need to know online. Whether it be through online seminars, eBooks, or even YouTube videos.

Unfortunately had we known the health issues a pug faces, we could have researched this in advance online and perhaps could have prevented the tragedy which befell us yesterday.

While small businesses may be the only way for those among my generation to move forward with their lives and make a decent income, even this avenue is beginning to become blocked off.

Barack Obama and his democrat party have introduced the ‘Affordable Healthcare Act’ which is anything but affordable. Under its new rules employers must provide their employees healthcare coverage which is extremely expensive. Under the collectivist mindset, they have put the responsibility of the employees health in the hands of the business instead of in the individuals. This is a disastrous piece of legislation, and will have a huge negative impact on the economy while doing nothing to aid in the health and care of individuals within this country.

Brooke and I will never be able to hire anyone for our business while this ghastly piece of legislation is on the books.

When you couple this with the proposed internet tax, you have a formula for complete economic collapse. I wonder if the fools in Washington who vote for these pieces of legislation are really so woefully ignorant or if they are actually actively plotting to drown the US economy on purpose?

Either way, education is out there. Whether you want it or not. If you do not seek it, it will bash you over the head some day. If you choose to stay woefully ignorant, putting in just enough hours at a simple job so you can return to your home to watch TV, that is fine, but don’t be surprised when you turn 50 and you haven’t achieved much, and you don’t have enough money to support yourself and pay your medical bills when you get sick. You’ll only have yourself to blame.

For those who wish to advance their knowledge; more power to you. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn, and the more whole you will become. The most well rounded individuals on the planet are those who seek knowledge and advance themselves on a daily basis.

As for me, I will continue my education, which includes history, business, politics and philosophy as its largest support beams, and I will continue to advance myself well past where my friends have stopped past college.

While many in my age group go out and party on the weekends, my wife and I build our business, and during voting season we do all that we can to fight taxes and bad legislation. We will continue to push for the deregulation of the economy so that we and others can thrive.

I hope that whatever life throws at you, whether it be a sad death in the family, or an epiphany while reading a book, that you enjoy life to its fullest. Life is short, so learn all that you can, improve your life as best at possible, and strap yourself in for the ride. Because you only live once. So make the most of it.

Published by

Paul Townsend

Paul is a freelance writer who grew up in the UK and became an American citizen.

2 thoughts on “Education”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, as my stomach dropped just reading this about the little pug. My wife and I are dog lovers too, as we have a larger breed, as we are not familiar with the smaller breeds.

    Your point on college tuition is so valid, as my wife and I live in Liberty Twp as well. We still both have student loans that we are paying, which is fine since it was our choice. But, I had to do the tri-fecta of working full time, loans and scholarships to make it work, so I totally understand. I guess I could have gone to a less expensive institution, but I liked the values of my school and the curriculum. Eventually, I did get to the point where the loan payments were not a burden after graduation, but I am still hoping to get them paid off before my 17 month old son might want to go to college. Because of the future projected cost of tuition, he would be in a similar situation as me if he would want to attend a private institution. I think though him taking some loans will make him have some skin in the game, and hopefully more serious about his studies (I knew I had to get out in 4 years, unlike many of my friends). But, I am going to fully support him in whatever he wants to do.

    But, the unchecked increase in tuition can hopefully come under control some day. I do find it interesting about your friend attending Cambridge, as I understand though that there are still competitive examinations, so not everyone who might be qualified or wants to attend can. I do like the US system though that if you have the right grades and credentials, you can attend, though it might not be your first choice, it is still possible.

    Well, I’m glad you guys enjoy Liberty Twp as much as we do, as we love the space and surroundings. Cheers!

  2. Thanks for the comment, I meant to reply back sooner, but one thing let to another, and time flew by. My wife and I are still enjoying living in Liberty Twp; she grew up here, and I’ve loved it here ever since my first visit as a teenager.

    I think that college will come down in cost over the next decade. In fact it may be the next bubble to burst, as tuition rates exceed projected life earnings. We’ll see how it goes!

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