>The Apprentice

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…No, not the show.

Chris and I went to dinner last night, sans Jack, and we were discussing apprenticeships. This was spurred by something I was thinking when I got home from the farm yesterday.

I was thinking back to being an intern in college. Many college kids get internships. I don’t think this is bad at all. What is bad is oftentimes with a very broad degree (like my English degree) there isn’t a specific focus, unless you already have something in mind. During my internship I realized I didn’t want to work at a magazine. I appreciate that I learned a lesson about what I didn’t want to do, but it didn’t help much pushing toward something I would like to do.

Unless you are going to tattoo or pierce, I can’t think of many common apprenticeships for people. I mean, I know there are others, but clearly not so many that I can think up a bunch at a moment’s notice. I think this is quite the bummer.

Chris used to be (and will continue to be) an apprentice at shops that make huge pipe organs. He’s done stuff for free that people would complain about getting paid to do. Things like sweeping woodshavings. He loved it though. Just getting to be in the environment of people doing what you would love to do, and the education that comes with it, is payment enough.

Friday I picked wax beans, in the rain, with Jack whining in my ear most of the time. I was wet, muddy, and my back hurt. After this I scrubbed out 5-gallon buckets for sunflowers. Then I bunched beets. When you wrap the rubber band it often snaps and flings mud right into your face. Finally I went and cut basil, hunched again with an already sore back. I know this sounds like complaining, but it’s absolutely not.

I do all of this for no pay. I wake up at 7 to get there by 9. I drive 2 hours round trip to the farm. I pack food for Jack and myself. I try to police him while doing all the rest of this. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.

That’s what being an apprentice is about. Not “winning” something at the end, but the skills and knowledge acquired along the way. There’s a certain sense of joy that comes with putting yourself in an uncommon situation for the benefit of a passion. I hope there will always be people kind enough to teach me the different skills that interest me.

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