Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’ll be sharing a short bookish memory with you.
In high school, I wasn’t the greatest student. I had a terrible attitude and did the minimum amount of work I needed to graduate. When I met with my guidance counselor to talk about my future, I said I wanted to be a crazy dog lady, live in the woods, and never see another person again. I didn’t want to go to college. I didn’t want a job. I didn’t want a husband or kids. If we’re being honest, I didn’t want to be alive. My teenage years were very dark, very angsty, and very strange. In one of Stephen King's books, he uses the phrase "going out of the blue and into the black." Yeah. Teenage-me was deep in the black and had no intention of trying to get out of it.
One of the few things I enjoyed about my senior year of high school was my creative writing class. Instead of taking a final exam, we had to revise the stories we wrote for class and create a portfolio of our writing. I worked abnormally hard on my portfolio. Seriously, it had been years since I’d put that much effort into anything, especially a school assignment. Teenage-me was much too angry and cynical for school. I turned in my portfolio and hoped for a good grade.
The teacher gave our portfolios back during the last week of high school. Creative writing was my final class of the day, so I walked halfway home with my portfolio, then sat under a tree and flipped through it.
My writing teacher had been supportive of my work all semester, but I was surprised by her comments on my assignment. She said a lot of nice things and thought I had a talent for writing. She didn't want me to give up on it.
I had never thought of myself as talented at anything, but I started to wonder if she was right. I loved books, and I loved writing, and I really loved writing about books. My portfolio was proof that I could work hard on something and not fail. If one person in the world thought I was talented, maybe others would, too.
A few weeks after I graduated from high school, I signed up for literature classes at a community college. It was a brilliant decision. I loved college so much that I went for 11 years and ended up with three degrees. All of them are related to writing or literature.
And, I still have my portfolio with my high school teacher’s comments.
If you went to college, how did you choose what to study? Did you have a teacher who influenced your choice?