In most cases, college life is the one that opens a person’s eye on what real life is about. It is a time when most students start being in charge of their life without depending on their parents. Some even have to work to finance their education.
After graduating from Wenatchee high school in 1991, Sam Congdon joined Hillsdale College to undertake a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree. He hasn’t only attained the degree, but it is also at this time that he acquired skills in running a business.
It is at the college that he was exposed to Austrian economics for the first time. This type of economics is free market oriented with limited government intervention and supports entrepreneurial endeavors. It advocates for the rights of individuals the right of property and the right to contract. It presents a challenge to the Keynesian school of thought, which is interventionist, big government economics. Sam Congdon had an incredible time in college where he learned a lot about economics and common sense political principles. He considers these as raw economic principles as opposed to the ideas in the mainstream media concerning economics, the role of government and personal freedom, or lack thereof.
He not only learned about economics, but also got business running skills. In his freshman year, Sam Congdon got an opportunity to work for Student Works Painting Company as a city manager. The company has its origins in Canada and it trains students on how to run a painting business during the summer. Midwest has seasons and temperatures that are clear such that spring and summer months are hot or warm while winter is cold. Outdoor painting takes place in the warm months of summer, and it corresponds with the college summer break. He used the hardworking skills that he had learned at the Orchard farm to perform this job. He was assigned to manage painting in the city of Battle Creek Michigan. This was the city closest to Hillsdale, Michigan, where he was a student.
The position of a city manager for Student Works Painting requires a lot of input in time and effort. Fortunately, he had learned how to work hard at an early age. Although the painting is done during summer break, the job for the manager starts way before then when the school session is still on. This means that he had to travel to the city he was managing before the painting began, to market by use of flier and signs, to secure summer contracts and to provide estimates. He also had the responsibility of hiring and training the people who would work with him. This task required placing of advertisements in local papers and interviewing the applicants either on the phone or in person.
This means that being in college was not a lay around time for Sam Congdon. He had to walk the tightrope of balancing his studies and working. The painting job required a lot of input even before the summer break, which means he had to work extra hard to attain a balance.