“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

"There's more than one way to carry money," my parents promised me over the phone. It was simple advice.

A few nights before, my mother had given me a roll of bills. She told me to stick the cash in my socks rather than risk carrying it in my pockets. With a stash of cash in my socks, I flew from South Central Los Angeles to a boarding school in New Hampshire. I was attending on scholarship, a lanky fourteen-year-old boy "from the hood" with beady eyes and a barely noticeable mustache.

I visited the bookstore upon my arrival. There, I pulled up my pant leg, rolled down my sock, and whipped out the wad of cash. As students snickered, I nervously thumbed through the bills, paid, and fled the store.

I called my parents that evening and cried about being different. That's when they assured me there's more than one way to carry money.

Over the years, I have grown to appreciate this advice, which at its core, simply means there's more than one way of doing things. It's a reminder that everyone comes from different places.

I will continue to carry this advice with me everywhere I go. I will maintain an open mind and listen closely to others. I will try not to judge. After all, what I learn from others may just knock my socks off.

— Juan Felix