About a year and a half ago, I applied to Praxis and was ultimately rejected.
The year that followed was one of the best of my life.
Let me explain.
I learned about the program through my dad, who sent me a link and told me to look into it. I had known from a young age college wasn’t going to be my path for many reasons, so a year-long alternative where I made more money than I spent piqued my interest. After reading some of the blog posts, chatting with one of the staff, and watching a few video reviews on YouTube, I decided to apply.
I was a little hesitant at first. This was a business program. I was a writer. I was pretty strictly a “creative” person, so I thought Praxis was going to be whole new territory.
I had two published books, had just finished a tennis apprenticeship coaching young players, and had built a website which I occasionally updated with blog posts. These experiences, among a few other things, were enough to get me to the final stage of the application process.
Not too long after my personal interview, I got an email with the news.
I had not been accepted into the program.
I was disappointed, to say the least. I emailed a reply, thanking them for the opportunity and asking for feedback. The Praxis team politely informed me that my lack of full-time work experience had been
one of the biggest deciding factors.
I was a little unsure of what would come next. I was seventeen years old, homeschooled my whole life, and had no desire to go to college. I went through about a week of confusion and fear. My future was looming before me, and I had no idea what was going to ultimately make me enough money to move out of my parents’ house.
Then, I kicked myself in the pants and got back to work.
I started exploring my options, looking for different writing internships I could keep in my back pocket to apply to in the future.
My tennis apprenticeship paid off, and I was offered a full-time coaching job at the yacht club for the following summer, which I immediately accepted. That would take care of the working full-time issue, and give me tons of new experience. But I wanted to push myself harder.
I also used this opportunity to temporarily move out of my parents’ house for a few months.
Moving out forced me to take care of myself and freed me from the “someone else will do it” mindset that comes with growing up with three siblings.
I also published two books in the same year: a children’s picture book titled “Constellation” I collaborated with a friend on, and an eBook titled “How to Write a Novel.”
I wrote and illustrated four poems for a Comic Convention I attended with the same friend who worked on Constellation with me. I only sold one poem, but I observed the target market, which I quickly realized was not actually my target market.
I took extra babysitting jobs, pet sat, house sat, gave private tennis lessons, worked extra hours at the club, and walked a round trip of four miles every week with a sack of laundry on my back to clean my dad’s office and use the washer and dryer there.
Doing all this, I was probably working 50 or more hours a week.
I was creating value for myself and for other people.
I realized I actually really enjoyed working hard and pushing myself.
At the end of the summer, a week or two before I was supposed to move back home and days before I published my eBook, I reapplied to Praxis.
This time I got in.
My original concerns that Praxis, a business program, might not be the best fit for me, a creative person, were misplaced. It has been nothing but fuel for my creativity, and there is an abundance of content for me to take inspiration from. I have been challenged and I have been encouraged to try new things.
A friend of mine once told me he knew he had finally chosen the right major in college when he realized he was surrounded by people just like him. That’s how I felt as soon as I finished my first Praxis Wednesday call, because I was surrounded by ambitious people who loved doing more than they loved learning about doing.
I’m in Module Three right now, and I love it.
Since being accepted into Praxis, I’ve created more value in three months than a lot of college students will in four years. I’ve built a website, built a pitch deck, created a Shopify store, and run ads for the store.
I’m halfway through a 30-day blogging and reading challenge. It has forced me not only to discover past value I can offer, but to create new value by improving my writing skills and proving that I’m the type of person who can do something every day for a month.
I’m learning every day. Praxis is teaching me plenty, but one of the most important mindsets they illustrate is finding value in your experiences- value you didn’t know was originally there.
I’ve found value in my experiences working as a grocery store cashier, training to ski race, and babysitting. I’ve written blog posts on the value in popular TV shows, traveling to different countries, and even staring at people in public.
The year I had between being rejected and accepted to Praxis was one of most value-packed I’ve ever had.
Being rejected told me that nothing was going to be handed to me. I’d have to work for whatever I wanted, and I could never stop pushing myself.
Working 40-50 hours a week taught me the value of hard work.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Take a step back, reevaluate, and go for it.
Take your life into your own hands. Create your own value. No one is going to give you anything. And it’s up to you to take advantage of that!
Samantha Clarkson is a homeschooled self-published author and Praxis participant. She joined Praxis instead of going to a college in order to jumpstart her career. She loves to push herself and is interested in marketing. Samantha currently lives in Maine with her family and their many pets. You can follow her work on samanthaclarkson.com/official/.