Tuesday, September 23, 2003

 

Sleepy bit o' Navel-Gazing

*yawn* I am still sleepy from the weekend! I should so be in bed right now, but "should" is a bad word, so I'll ignore that little nagging voice - for now.

I'm actually thinking about the past a bit tonight, mostly because of a conversation with Lindsay last night, as well as her description of it on her blog today. She describes me thus: "my best gal pal from back in the tenth grade, whose life has changed by leaps and bounds and zip codes numerous times since we first met."

Ok, yeah, so since 10th grade I have lived in (sequentially): Southern California, Maryland, New York, Southern California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and now Minnesota. And my hair's shorter now, and I am a bit less socially awkward and a bit more of a geek (NOT a contradiction, just the truth!). But whenever someone points out how much my life has changed, I think, well, nah, nothing really has - and then I realize that my own personal view on my life is not always entirely correct.

In tenth grade I was told I couldn't be in Advanced Placement English the following year because my English teacher at the time didn't think I had what it took. I flunked math my junior year, and wasn't allowed to take Spanish for two years because I had to complete state requirements (moving to a new state between ninth and tenth grades can really screw you!). My senior year of high school, I'd transferred schools and moved across the country again: I shared a room with my mother and wanted to be a physical therapist, mostly because of Mom having MS. After high school graduation I decided to defer college (reasons for which are long, involved, and generally unpleasant), and ended up working for Greenpeace on two different coasts for almost a year. I got some tattoos and tried to be a rebel-badass. Then I moved back in with my mother (and had my own room this time) and began college - at the local community college campus.

I [was] graduated from University of Maryland Cum Laude with Departmental Honors in English and a double major in Spanish and English Lanugage and Literature. I was offered a fellowship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which I declined in order to go to Penn State, where I was admitted as a Graduate Scholar (which basically means my TA stipend was supplemented with a bit of extra money). After two years at Penn State, I received my M.A. in English, and moved on to the University of Minnesota, where I was offered (and accepted) a competitive first-year Graduate School Fellowship. I'm now less than a full year away from being done with coursework for my PhD in Rhetoric with a minor in Cognitive Science.

How did I get here? The progression was slow, gradual, but in retrospect, Lindsay was right, and the changes have been pretty significant. And, despite the pretty picture the narrative above paints, my life has not been a bed of roses by any stretch of the imagination. Ask anyone who knows me well: do NOT get me started talking about my family, or you might nor ever get me to shut up. But overall, life's treated me pretty well. I have a loving husband, some very good friends in various geographic locations, and memories good, bad, and ugly. And the majority of the time, I am happy with the choices I have made, because they have led me here, and I generally like the person that I am.

Lindsay was the first person to tell me that she didn't regret anything in her life. It's a good attitude.

- posted by laurie @ 9/23/2003 10:52:00 PM
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