The Ladder I Climb

December 18, 2013
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I walk into my first accounting class: the teacher stands in front of the door, and says, “Welcome to accounting. You will learn a lot and have fun over the next year.” We are handed a textbook and start the first lesson. I look around the room. Kids listen intently. It then dawns on me that I’m not the only person who doesn’t know much about the class. I’m not alone.

I wasn’t always comfortable, though. I had to climb a ladder to get to that point. And it started at my first baseball game.

Instead of watching the players, I added numbers on the video board. And my passion for numbers emerged. As I got older, I collected baseball cards. And I studied their stats: how many homeruns they hit, the player’s total hits, their career batting average, and the pitcher’s earned run average. And I memorized it all. Analyzing stats became my new fixation. By age 13, my obsession with statistics developed from admiring numbers to examining patterns. Then I began predicting stats players would produce by the end of their season and career.

In middle school, I improved in math because I was adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers while scrutinizing baseball stats. I started appreciating math, as much as I valued analyzing baseball stats. One of my favorite math experiences was playing math 24—a game were I had to manipulate numbers to get an end result of 24. It was similar to the math I was doing while studying stats.

Like most kids, I had a dream job. I wanted to become the general manager of a baseball team. But the older I got, the more I understood that dream served more as a fantasy. I didn’t want to give up on my dream, but the chance of it happening was small. I needed to think of a plan B—a career more obtainable. I wanted a job involving math, but I didn’t know what I wanted to be.

But then I came across accounting. At first, I hesitated. What do accountants do? How much do they make? Will the job be in demand in the year 2018? Though I didn’t have much knowledge, my curiosity and interests helped me select the course for my sophomore schedule.

Finishing my first accounting class, I see my teacher. He gestures to me to talk to him. “You seem like a smart kid, Austin. It’s going to be a good year.” I grab my books and watch my peers gather their things and walk out. I look down at my accounting book, look up at the board, and think to myself, “This is what I’m going to do one day.”

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