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Education has always been something we as kids are told we should value. While most college students spend their summer breaks partying with friends or working at their campuses’ local coffee shop; Andrew Braaksma- the author of “Some Lessons From The Assembly Line” summer vacations were everything but a vacation for him. Although blue collar jobs aren’t very different from white collar jobs, the difficulties faced working a blue-collar job such as the factory Andrew Braaksma worked vary. The author points out that one of the biggest risks of working at the factory is the possibility of it being shut down or moved over seas. One of Andrew Braaksmas colleagues shares with him that although working at the factory provides a great income, it is also very strenuous on one’s body. He obviously relates to this, as his 12-hour shifts are difficult for him to get through. Braaksma uses his experiences working at his hometown factory in Michigan to shed light on the difficulties he faced working a blue-collar job as well as the value of education. He also explains how having and education beyond high school can have a positive impact on a person life.

The goal of this analysis of “Some Lessons From The Assembly Line” is to summarize the authors key points as well as to analyze the evidence the author provides as a foundation for his argument. By providing examples used in Braaksmas article, readers will have a better understanding of the importance and meaning behind the authors goal. Factory work may not be easy nor ideal for a college student, but it has taught the author a very valuable lesson on the value of education. It makes him appreciate more the opportunity he has to get an education. It also sets him apart from his peers because he now has a different attitude towards college than his peers. Andrew Braaksma used to be the type of college student who thought that “any class before noon was uncivilized” now wants to make the most of his college experience by working hard and appreciating his opportunity to attend college.

Although blue collar jobs aren’t very different from white collar jobs, the difficulties faced working a ble-collar job such as the factory Andrew Braaksma worked vary. The author points out that one of the biggest risks of working at the factuory is the possibility of it being shut down or moved over seas. This creates an issue for anyone working at that factory because it’ll leave many unemployed and looking for other employment. It’ll be difficult for one to find another job if the factory is the only source of employment they’ve had, especially if they have no higher educational degree to fall back on. In the article, the writer utilizes his very own encounters, and guidance one of his colleagues gives him about how capricious, and strenuous blue-collar work can be. “As frustrating as the work can be, the most stressful thing about blue-collar life is knowing your job could disappear overnight. Issues like downsizing and overseas relocation had always seemed distant to me until my co-workers at one factory told me that the unit, I was working in would be shut down within six months and moved to Mexico, where people would work for 60 cents an hour’ (Braaksma 1). The authors’ own personal experience, and advice from his colleague reveals insight to how his perception of college and education has changed because of his time spent at the factory. Blue-collar jobs are unpredictable, with having a college degree as a second leg to stand on is important. Unlike his peers, the factory life has shown him what his life would be like with a college education. Blue-collar jobs are not easy jobs nor are they the best jobs financially. Having a college degree would benefit anyone’s livelihood because it will help a person succeed more in life by providing a foundation for a better career.

Most of Andrew Braaksmas peers chose to spend their breaks from college differently than him; while he chose a more difficult way to spend his breaks from college, his peers chose much simpler job to work. This gave him a much different, and broader perspective on the value of education. ‘My friends who take easier, part-time jobs never seem to understand why I’m so relieved to be back at school in the fall or that my summer vacation has been anything but a vacation. There are few things as cocksure as a college student who has never been out in the real world, and people my age always seem to overestimate the value of their time and knowledge’ (Braaksma 1). His views of the value of education differ from his peers because of his time spent working at the factory. Rather than him taking an easier job during his breaks from school, he chose to work at his hometown factory back home because it was financially smarter and convenient for him to do so. Although it was not intended, doing so has now given him a different outlook on college which he values and appreciates much more now. His breaks from college are never considered a vacation for him which makes him look forward to returning to school come fall. Prior to him working at his hometown factory, Andrew Braaksma never really took college seriously. He didn’t really put much effort into his assignments, and he had no type of value for the opportunity he was being given to get an education. The experiences he gained from working at the factory have set him apart from his peers tremendously. College was something that he didn’t take to serious, but now that is no longer true for him. Andrew now sees the true value and importance on getting an education.

The lessons that Andrew Braaksma acquired during his time spent working at the factory came at the price of his colleagues very own lives. ‘My lessons about education are learned at the expense of those who weren’t fortunate enough to receive one. ‘This job pays well, but it’s hell on the body,’ said one co-worker. ‘Study hard and keep reading,’ she added, nodding at the copy of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ I had wedged into the space next to my machine, so I could read discreetly when the line went down’ (Braaksma 2). The evidence from the text supports the main claim of this analysis because it shows how the authors lessons on the value of education were acquired. He acquired these lessons on the value of education unintentionally, however it is what makes it very grateful to have acquired the knowledge of the lessons presented to him at the factory. Although his lessons were learned at the expense of those very coworkers he worked beside at the factory; it was necessary to be learned. Being a college student is not easy. What is easy is taking that very opportunity for granted, and really seeing the importance and value behind it. Once a person gets a taste of what life is like working in the blue-collar world it should open up one’s eyes to the value of higher education and how it plays a significant role in the success of one’s livelihood. 

Education is the certain method for changing one’s livelihood; this makes it imperative for college students to make more of an effort to achieve that college degree, so they can avoid working at jobs like the factory the author worked in. By recognizing the difficulties of blue-collar jobs, the little wages that individuals acquire in such callings and the long spans of work, the students get an opportunity to take advantage of their opportunity to get a higher education. Working a blue-collar job is not only hard physically, but financially as well. There are a lot of blue-collar jobs that don’t pay well. Andrew Braaksma was fortunate enough to have been able to experiences working at his hometown factory; it gave him a whole new perspective on education. Education is key in surviving in today’s world. 

No matter what occupation one chooses, whether it is joining the military, or working at your hometown factory, having that college degree as another leg to stand on is essential. Life is unpredictable, and it is of great value to show these young readers this. The importance of education is the result of this analysis. Education is important in the success of one’s livelihood, as well as individual growth. Having this education can open so many more opportunities for a person. It is imperative for the audience of this article to know the importance of college and getting a higher education. Education is key in being successful in life, not only for the career opportunities, but also for the knowledge it provides for the world around us.

Andrew Braaksma tells his story of his breaks from school spent working at his hometown factory, and in his article, he tells his readers how his views of higher education have changed. “When I’m back at the university, skipping classes and turning in lazy re-writes seems like a cop-out after seeing what I could be doing without school” (Braaksma 2). Braaksmas new profound outlook on higher education came from his grueling days spent working in the factory. With these experiences, Andrew developed into a hardworking, storing willed young man. While his classmates became relaxed in college, not really taking it seriously, the factory taught the author what it takes to survive in today’s society. Andrew took the lesson he learned from the factory and used it as motivation for when he returned to school in the fall. The fear of failure served as a motivation for Andrews success in college. This supports the main claim of the importance of pursuing higher education. Also, in the article the authors states how uncertain and unpredictable blue-collar jobs can be, as they can be shut down and gone over night. Higher education for Andrew Braaksma has been something he has never questioned, it was something he has always knew he was going to do. Unlike his peers, the factory life has shown him what his life would be like without a college education. These lessons are supported by his own experiences at the factory. “My lessons about education are learned at the expense of those who weren’t fortunate enough to receive one” (Braaksma 2). Those who are given the opportunity to attend college should value that opportunity, because not everyone has that same opportunity.


  1. Braaksma, A. (2005). Some Lessons From The Assembly Line. Newsweek 146 (11), 17.
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