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TheRogueMilspouse

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Military Education

3 years ago I was graduating from High School. 3.5 GPA, a transcript padded full of AP and Honors classes, a scholarship from the school district, and offers to attend universities like Puget Sound and Colorado State.

I opted for the closest school to my house: University of Utah. I started school that fall completely gung-ho and confident in my dreams. I was going to double major in anthropology and English. I was going to travel abroad and live on ramen. I was on the fast track to graduation, with AP test scores replacing 12 credit hours of general eds and summer school soaking up a decent chunk of other core requirements.

But something happened.

I hated college. I hated the learning, I hated the students, I hated the teachers, I hated the campus shuttle that whipped around turns at lightening speed. I hated the meal plan. But most of all, I hated the pressure.

When was I going to declare a major? How many credits did I have? Did I read Dostoyevsky over the summer? What about Neitzche? What was my career plan? What was I going to do after graduation? Was I planning to study abroad?

I HAD to attend college. My parents, my teachers, my friends, my extended family...they told me college was normal. It was the next step in a life full of steps. I was just a pawn, progressing through a checkerboard of moves, controlled by someone else.

1. High School
2. College
3. Stable Career
4. Marriage
5. Children
6. Retirement
7. Death

So I dropped out.

Well, no, first I wasted another 2 semesters of college money on classes I never completed before transfering schools, and THEN I dropped out.

I got married without so much as 2 cents to my name. My husband enlisted in the military, I lived with his mother, then I moved around the country on the military's dime. I digressed from the norm.

All the people I graduated high school with will be finishing their 4 year degrees this school year. Some have already finished them. Many have studied abroad, had internships, joined sororities or fraternities. Hell, my 19 year old brother had more college credits after his first year of college than I did after 2 years and a summer.

 But I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry I put it off so long. I'm not sorry that I hated college. I'm not sorry that it took me so long to come back around, that I got married at the tender age of 19, and that I've spent most of that marriage alone.

The reason I'm not sorry is because it allowed me to prioritize my life. Graduating at the "normal" time, with a degree I'm only lukewarm towards is simply not (and will never be) a priority in my life. Despite what everyone wants me to do, I am NOT going to go back to school just to get "any degree" to pad a resume. Why would I waste money on something I'm just "settling" with?

This fall I am planning (but not promising) on returning to school. A community college this time. I'm working towards an AA in photography, and I can't believe it took me this long to realize it.

Photography.

That was my "side hobby" in high school. Actually, art in general was my side hobby (more of a passion, really). I took every art class imaginable, I did summer art classes. I had a photograph featured in a show in a gallery in downtown Salt Lake City. I volunteered at an art museum, owned a digital camera, printed and framed my own work. I drew all the time, doodled on my homework, and on any given day I would most likely be found in the art room, either leading an art club meeting or painting something.

Why did it take me this long to realize and pursue? I don't know.

5 comments:

TAW said...

sounds to me like it hasn't taken you any time to figure it out! In the grand scheme of things consider yourself lucky that being young you've found a passion already. For me, my story reads much like yours - hated college, never finished, moved in with DH at 19 got married and had kids shortly after, but didn't have that "duh" moment until I was in my 30's and realized DUH I can make a living with computers - something I love, something I find easy and fun and which I could do all day every day. Many people never even get that opportunity. :)

[Briar] . Designs said...

You go girl. I also am majoring in Photography. I too dropped out to follow different dreams and I'm planning on taking online courses this fall. Good Luck. Photography is AMAZING, but avoid advanced b&w unless you really love film. alot.

The LT's Wifey said...

I bet you feel so freeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I loved that feeling, I went to art school, a fancy one for photography and I loved and adored every day. I loved the girl with the purple hair, the guy in the super tight jeans, the snobby teacher who studied in Paris. I loved every minute of it and I am sure you will too. Art is life! I haven't felt as free as I did in Art school in years. Please post lots of updates! YOU GO GIRL!

Mikey Mike said...

I like this! I don't think that everyone's life should follow a specific path...otherwise we all become mundanely boring robots contributing to...what? Someone else's plan? Screw that! Live life, live happy, and live freeeee.

Thanks for that post!

Mikey Mike

Anonymous said...

I'm so freakin happy for you! Get at that shit girl! I'm excited to see your photographs progress as you delve deeper into it!

Amanda