When you begin to take the first step onto the ladder of life, it is difficult to go in blind. At least according to my dad, Bob Jackson, as he made his way through his young life, he didn’t know where to begin. With a father who worked shift work at a factory, there was little to go off of. Yet as I talked to him, I realized that no matter what path you travel down, change can always be for the better.
Coming out of high school, my dad was caught between a rock and a hard place, not knowing what careers, colleges, or opportunities were out there, he jumped straight into a world of craziness, with little guidance. Being the oldest child in his family, and coming from a town like Brainerd, Minnesota, he only had his parents to base his future off of. Yet, what his dad did was the last thing he wanted to do. Working shift work at Potlatch Paper Company was not within his radar. His only option was to jump straight into college. My dad began his generals at Brainerd Community College, and was looking into furthering his college career in pharmacy.
As he made his way through the college experience, he realized BCC could only take him so far. After two years of hard work, he made his way to North Dakota State University, and tried to enter the pharmacy program. Yet, I knew my dad wasn’t into pharmacy, so I asked what happened to that dream, and what a response I got. Dad said, “With the high demand of pharmacists at the time, the program was only taking students whose cumulative high school and college GPA’s were a perfect 4.0, so I decided to switch to polymers and coatings. Yet after I started studying that, I realized I didn’t want to work in that field, so I switched to organic chemistry because the classes were similar.” As he continued through college, my dad stuck to his plan of becoming a chemist, and after three years at NDSU, graduated with his major in organic chemistry, with a minor in sociology.
Once he finally got his degree, he had to find a career to pair with it. Yet, there weren’t too many jobs in the field. My dad first began to look into doing work in a research lab. Still, all he had to do was think back to college, and was reminded how much he disliked working in the lab. So after putting that idea behind him, he began to look at getting into working for a city, doing water treatment. Still, this meant another certification to be able to work for a city, as well as possibly making him and my mom move far away from their families. Yet, he kept putting applications in, hoping just about anyone would hire him, when he stumbled across a...