Sensitive Girl Is Sensitive.

I should lament my lack of college degree more than I do. It’s one of those things that sounds nice, sounds like it’d help me on my lifelong career path, and yet I’m fairly ambivalent when it comes to actually possessing the pretty framed piece of paper on my wall. I more lament that I didn’t get the full college experience than not having spent time in the classroom. Not gonna lie, the semester(s) I was in school WERE fun, and my friends have some fantastic stories about their college years. I want(ed) that. I just didn’t care enough about any single course of study to get it.

I think that was part of my “meh” re: university education – I wasn’t really INTO anything. I didn’t want anything enough. If something bores me, I’m completely undriven. However, once something hooks its claws in? All bets are off. When my heart and brain are in synch and I adopt a project, my ambition and work ethic know no bounds. I think that’s why books are good for me – I love them, because I love them I can devote myself to them. Most people would probably turn around and say to me “So why not major in literature?” Good question and a valid one to boot. The real answer? GERs. General education requirements mean in order for me to take all of my writing and English and literature classes, I’d have to wade through four years of math, science, and foreign language.

Yeah no. None of that, thanks. I have the basics, anything else I need to know can be found online or at the library.

Plus there’s that whole thing about me being a sensitive basket case. “What the crap does this have to do with anything?! You were talking about laziness!” See, after I ended up leaving UMass because I just didn’t want to be there, I tried to go to Bridgewater State the next year. I’d commute from home, work, and la-tee-da, Hillary’d get her edumacation on the eventual. The first day of classes I had my books, was all ready to go. I’d even psyched myself into believing I wanted to be there! And in trying to find my English class — the one class I really, really wanted to go to — I got lost. I finally found it and walked in about five to ten minutes late. It was a small class, their equivalent of an honors class, and Bridgewater State had skipped me out of English 101 and possibly 102. My AP English scores from High School were good enough they weren’t going to make me take stuff they figured I’d already done. When I took my seat, the professor wasn’t talking, just stared at me, and I told him I was sorry, that I’d gotten lost.

His answer was to snap, “You will not be disruptive in my class again.”

He was a /total dick/. It crushed me. All of that ambition I’d somehow mustered up, all of that happy anticipation went right out the window. I automatically jumped to “Well, he hates me right off the bat. There’s no way I can succeed here” and I dropped out a week later. Yeah, yeah “That’s just an excuse, you didn’t want it enough.” I suppose that’s partially true. I mean, I could have used his sneering disdain to fuel me on, but that’s not how I function. Going to college is a big lifetime thing. It’s a big deal and I was seriously nerved up about it. That professor might have just had a bad day, someone might have just pissed in his Cheerios, but because my grades depended on that guy, starting off with this ugly black mark over something as simple as getting lost when I’d never been there before . . . mnnngh. It’s a no gooder. That single interaction was enough to send me scrambling back into my hidey hole.

What’s funny is I completely forgot about that Bridgewater State thing until the other day. It kinda popped into my brain randomly, and I made a big frowny face and thought, “Fuck that guy.” I’d been assuming all of my psychosis and anxiety have been a recent thing, like after my grandmother died I fell to pieces, but it seems I’ve been sensitive to other people’s moods and behaviors for a lot longer than I remembered. I don’t really think it’s a bad thing — I think it helps me with my writing, actually — but I do have to wonder how many things I simply DIDN’T DO over the years because someone hurt my feelings or made me feel less than I wanted to be and I didn’t know how to overcome it. It’s a little sad to think about, really.

Which is why beyond this post, I probably won’t spend a lot of time mulling it over. Much, much nicer to think about the things I -did- let myself do.

2 thoughts on “Sensitive Girl Is Sensitive.

  1. I tell people I went to the University of Arizona. I did go there. Dropped out my sophomore year but I did go there. When I moved to Sac I met a guy who had two degrees but was ‘taking some time off’ to ‘get to know himself’ and was working out of the back of his truck as a handyman. He asked me out. During the ‘set-a-time-and-date’ phone call he found out that I didn’t have a degree. He said, “You don’t have a college degree? like I might say, “You don’t bathe?” The phone called ended less than 30 seconds later. It saved me the hassle of dealing with his arrogant self on a date but it also inspired my writing so that one day I can say, in theory, to those like him, “You don’t have a Pulitzer?”

  2. “I’m pretty sure I should lament my lack of college degree more than I do.”

    On the contrary, you should give yourself extraordinary credit for not having a college degree — and you should give yourself even more credit for becoming a writer by means of the only actual method that one can become a writer: by writing.

    Whenever I’m asked how best to go about the business of literature, I always advise the would-be writer to drop out of college or to never begin college at all. College stunts the mind.

    My comment here isn’t meant to be political, but the fact is, the postmodern curriculum and all that that term entails — which is a lot (i.e. the disintegration of structure, theme, plot, meaning, language itself, the dispensing of definitions, and the explicit neo-marxism in all realms political and economic) — is rife in academia.

    The literature that lasts will never come from academics.

    You’d be amazed at the sheer number of English professors who hate literature. Why? Because they’re failed writers. These are people who are teaching young students in the biggest and best universities in the country.

    Anyone who aspires to becoming a real writer should not only avoid college: she or he should avoid it like the black plague.

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