Schools your own well being above everything else. High

Schools teach you that you’re the best. You’re special. You can change the world. They teach you to ask for help when you need it, speak up when you’re feeling uncomfortable, and place your own well being above everything else. High schools and colleges specialize in teaching these “lessons” to their students. My school is prepared to protect and defend me from any personal problems or hurt feelings I might be a victim of. I was taught of these things in every school I’ve attended, both in South Korea and in the U.S. My perspective on these lessons changed dramatically, however, during the summer of 2017.    After graduating from middle school, I occasionally worked at a shooting range owned by a good friend of my dad, Jacob, who went to the same church that my family attended. Since I wasn’t old enough, my job was to supply and give ammunition to customers at the front counter. The most important thing I prioritized, perhaps the most important factor that most jobs prioritize, was not how I felt but how my customers felt.My job was to make the customers satisfied with their purchase and give them a good time at the range. Jacob made me responsible for all ammunition purchases, and because I worked at the front counter, all discrepancies in orders were dealt by me. Only one big complication happened during the entire summer, but the issue wasn’t very big. One of the customers didn’t know their calibers and would continue complaining when I brought him the caliber he stated but he apparently didn’t want it. This is the only complication where Jacob didn’t help me, as he was busy giving information to other customers. The annoyed customer wasn’t interested in stating his complaints in a manner that won’t hurt my feelings. He had either calculated the cost of his purchase to the cent out of extreme necessity and could not afford a mistake, or he had a long, stressing day and wanted to take his stress out of the range, something that I would do as well. He had all the rights to have his purchase the way he wanted it, and even though he was the one misunderstanding his own order and was the one at fault, I didn’t talk back and quickly assessed on what he actually wanted. His feelings mattered more than mine.At the range, there was no warning for when a customer was about to start a fuss, no safe spaces for me to hide in when the lobby would get very busy to the point where it made me anxious, when people made fun of me for working at a gun store at such a young age, no teachers, principals, counselors, or other school administrators for me to run to for reassuring my uncertain feelings. I learned from my experiences at the range. I learned to take care of myself in ways that didn’t bother other people, or create unnecessary attention to myself, or get my personal problems interfere with my job. I had a job to do and people depended on me for it. If I complained to Jacob about how frustrated I get when the lobby was too full or that hearing complaints from customers made me fearful, he would’ve simply handed me my earnings and told me to leave. In the end, I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to work for Jacob. It taught me how to comply with strangers in a peaceful manner, and my character and self-confidence strengthened. The most important lesson I’ve learned, however, is that putting oneself first is the definition of privilege, but putting oneself first does not help them survive or increase their personal gains. Putting others first does. I value the lesson I’ve learned over the break, as I doubt that I’ll learn a life lesson as useful or realistic during my time in high school or college.


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