Friday, October 24, 2008
Someone posted this meme on her blog a while back and I saw it on the Huffington Post. But, feeling nostalgic, as I often do when facing yet another exciting financial challenge (which will open new doors! help me learn new things! present a GREAT opportunity! and other positive mantras), I thought I'd take a whack at this one. And to entertain you, here's a nice photo of Lee.
For background, I was at the University of Florida in my hometown, Gainesville, for four years, then the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 7 years until I could take it no more! This is about my time at the 4-year college. Go Gators, though I never watched you play football while I went there.
* What insecurities did you take with you to college? Are you still carrying them or have you set intentions and taken steps to let them go?
I took a huge insecurity about my looks and a worse one that I was not worthy of love. I think I sought out affection so hard during those years that I made some bad decisions. It has taken a long time to get over feeling I was so ugly and unworthy of love that I'd take anyone who looked at me sideways for a partner. Finally I think I have done the right thing and chosen someone because I deserve such a nice, compatible person.
* What expectations did you have going into college and how did they or are they impacting your decisions? Are there any expectations you are still clinging to that are getting in the way of what you want?
I expected that I would finish high school, graduate college in four years, get a Master's in two, and a PhD in two after that. Then I would be a brilliant linguistics professor. Everything went great until after the Master's degree, when I fought hard over the fact that the topics I was stuck on were really not interesting to me, and the politics of academia were more the focus than what I liked, which was teaching young adults. I now still feel bad that I didn't do what I set out to do and never really replaced that career ambition with another one that would get me on the road to financial security and intellectual fulfillment. Having the kids (which I do not regret) sent me on a big old detour into web design and parenting support, which seems to have made me someone no one wants to hire. I am pretty sure I'd be in a different place if I'd managed to keep working, building up to a good position in technical writing/management. But, the kids would have suffered, and they are what is most important anyway. So, some ambivalence here.
* Who were you in college? Did you like who you were and how much of that identity do you carry with you?
I did like who I was in college. I enjoyed the classes so much, really had fun meeting people like me (I was in a small "honors college" kind of thing for the mandatory classes, which means all smart kids and real professors). I really loved learning Japanese and linguistics. I loved hanging around with my boyfriend and our friends. I was a fun person who did all the work and still had time for a little social life. I think I was OK then, other than a few misdeeds.
* What were some of your favorite things about college? What did you least enjoy?
I loved those honors classes, my linguistics classes, the town I lived in and my wonderful friends, which were a mix of smart kids and the gay subculture (thanks to boyfriend's late roommate, the wonderful Bobby).
I liked least the snobby fraternity and sorority people and the focus on football and all the privileges the players got, while us smart kids got very little. I didn't like my grandmother guilting me in to visiting, and my mother being sick.
* If you could tell your college self anything knowing what you know now, what would it be?
You really were not fat. And Corey was the best boyfriend ever. You screwed up.
* If you could go back, would you add another major/minor? If so, what and why? Can you take classes in those fields at the local community college now?
I loved linguistics. I'd like to go back and get a degree in biology of some kind, or neurology (brains). I was so good at science, but didn't think I could do it because I was not good at math.
* What valuable lessons were missing from your college curriculum that you are responsible for teaching yourself?
Budgeting, bill paying, business crap. Fiber arts. I wish I could have taken classes in knitting. I really did study everything I was interested in.
* If there was one person from college that you could reconnect with, who would it be? What's stopping you from reaching out?
Dr. Shenkman. Social studies teacher who really cared about kids. I hope I can be the kind of friend to young people that he was to us in college. Every young adult needs a trustworthy adult to talk to as you navigate all that confusing adult "stuff," all those weird urges you get, and all the challenges that come up. Doc was great for us.
* Imagine yourself at your next big college reunion - what do you want to be telling people about yourself?
I did some good work for a nonprofit organization, I love teaching people to knit and making music. I have learned a lot about people and more about myself. I hope I never stop learning!
* College is often about enriching one's self and meeting other people. What are you doing now to expand your circle? How are you exploring new things?
I meet a lot of new people by teaching knitting. That has been a wonderful way to reach out to all kinds of people. I am also really enjoying the people I meet at the kids' school, both parents and students--I have finally found some parents willing to hang out with someone as nontraditional as me. I get a lot of enrichment by going to the local UU church, too. I hear many new ideas and meet some very weird, funny, interesting and unique folks there. I don't think I will grow old from lack of learning and exploring!