I don’t like being told what to do, but even more than that I don’t like being told what I cannot do.

*hold my beer*

I went to college to spite a high school guidance counselor who snorted when I sat in his office sometime in my junior year (could’ve been my senior year, who knows?) and told him that I might want to go to college.

I didn’t really know if I wanted to go, but I had decent grades (school was easy for me, except for math), I didn’t have a boyfriend to marry and, frankly, I didn’t have anything else to do after graduation, so….

“Well, you went to Vo-Tech, so I’m not sure you can go to college,” he said.

I will never forget how he made me feel: Like I wasn’t good enough.

I decided then and there that I was going to college.

Challenge accepted, a**hole. Tell me what I cannot do…..

Watch me now.

It wasn’t long before I was a card-carrying member of the future Class of 1993 at Edinboro University.

EUP blog

I was the first in my family to go to college. I had never taken an AP or college prep course. I had no idea what I was doing and I was scared shitless, but you wouldn’t have known it. I learned long ago to fake self-assurance and figure things out on my own.

I’m a latchkey kid born fourth of five children and raised in the ’70’s/’80s. I knew a thing or two about taking care of myself and dealing with my own problems.

That first semester was a wake-up call as it is for most freshman in college. I had to study for the first time. I got a C in a Philosophy despite my best effort. I’d never had to work for the As and Bs I got in my final years of high school. Though, if we’re being honest, I didn’t take the hardest classes in H.S.

Failure was not an option for me in college. I’d have died before I admitted I couldn’t do something or dropped out or asked anyone for help or told my parents that I had flunked out.

I’d get a degree in something doing whatever it takes to get it.

I switched majors three times — business, then psychology, finally communications with a journalism minor, thanks to an awesome JO prof who knew me better than I knew myself. I dropped two classes — French 101 because I was in way over my head having never taken it before, and TV Production because I realized I didn’t need the credits.

I learned so much more in college than what I was taught in classrooms. I learned to be organized and disciplined and confident, even when I didn’t feel like it or have any right to be.

I thought about my H.S. guidance counselor four years later on the day I graduated from college, cum laude, by the way.  And, I was thankful for his lack of faith in me.

He might not have believed in me, but he wasn’t the one that needed to believe in me. I did.

At least he gave me that.


About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.