By Richard Mabey Jr.
In June of 1973, at the age of 19, I graduated with an Associate of Arts degree from County College of Morris. It was a tough two years for me. But, it was also a very fulfilling time. I had been stretched like a rubber band. And, I came through it all a wiser and stronger individual.
All through my time at County College of Morris, I worked 29 hours a week at the A&P grocery store in Whippany. There were times when I worked the night shift, from 11:00 at night till 7:00 in the morning. I would punch out from work, climb up the stairs to the rest room, wash my face, wash up a bit and change my shirt. Then, I would buy a cinnamon bun at the A&P and drive off to CCM for an 8:00 class. I remember my class would end at 9:30. I didn’t have another class till 11:00, so I would go to the library, find an isolated corner, and put my face on my forearms on the desk and fall asleep. I kept a little travel alarm clock in my attaché case, that I also carried my books in.
I took my studies very seriously and managed to make the Dean’s List, for all four semesters at CCM. I also wrote weekly columns and articles for Youngtown Edition, the official college newspaper of CCM. It was a tough time. But I enjoyed every minute of it.
During my time at CCM, I went to a local chiropractor to get my spine adjusted on a regular basis. My chiropractor encouraged me to go to chiropractic school, so I applied to Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I was accepted and made plans to begin chiropractic college in September.
That summer, I worked full time at the A&P. I saved every penny that I could. And, as the dawn of September became closer, I prepared myself to depart from the old Mabey Homestead. To live away from loved ones and good friends. It was an emotional time, filled with a bit of sadness and yet also a time of hope for new adventures waiting to unfold.
I confess that I did not find chiropractic school easy. Specifically, I had a tough time with chemistry. In chiropractic college, a student is required to take one semester of inorganic chemistry, two semesters of organic chemistry, and two semesters of biochemistry. I did get some grades of B’s on my tests, but I mostly got C’s on many of my tests. However, a few times, I actually did ace some of my chemistry exams.
I worked at a grocery store, during my years at Sherman College. Like my days at CCM, I found it all so tough, but also very rewarding.
I did practice chiropractic for a few years, in a small town in West Virginia. But I was not very successful at it. I will write more about that, in a future article for this newspaper. Fate and destiny called me home to become a writer. It is strange how the angels will set a path for your life.
If you’re facing a tough challenge, please do not give up. There were times, when I was in college, when I thought I wasn’t going to make it. Both at County College of Morris and at Sherman College of Chiropractic. But I did my absolute best to stay tough and be positive. Please, if you are going through a tough time to accomplish a goal that is important to you, do not give up! Never, ever give up!
Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put on the subject line: September Story.