In HS it was easy. I "did" school because I was good at it, and it was one of
the simplest ways I received positive attention My parents always
encouraged my studies, and my dad's a Ph.D. in Ed Psych, so maybe they
avoided a lot of the home pitfalls that catch girls.
But when I got to college I was Pre-Med for two years then quit (pre-med, not
college). I look back and sometimes I wish I would have stuck with it. I
really missed the socializing in HS (probably due a lot to my "geekdom"), and
in college I could not wear makeup, not do my hair, etc. and still go out
with people and have fun. I lost a lot of the "Pre"-occupation with my looks
(spending time getting ready), but was still insecure. When I withdrew from
P-chem twice failing, I became insecure about my studies too.
I was making A's in my English classes, and I've always been a voracious
reader, so that seemed logical. After graduation I fell into grad school,
literally. I had sent out my GRE's to a few schools when I took it (you know
you get to pick three schools free), even though I wasn't applying anywhere.
A big state school wrote me offering me a $10,000 fellowship to pursue a
masters in English, so I said hey why not?
I taught middle school in the inner city for three years, loved the kids and
was incredibly frustrated by the people I worked with. Most were
anti-intellectual and often were directly cruel to me, mocking me for being,
"the G/T one." I went back to pursue my Ph.D. in Reading Education, partly
because I think I really needed a boost, I needed to be validated for being
smart again. I'm presently at one of the top ten Schools of Ed in the nation
and (so I've heard) one of the top three in Reading Ed, but do I wish it was
a Ph.D. in Biology? Sometimes.
For fun I read books about quantum physics, and I still pursue my interests
on my own, but sometimes I worry that I did take the easy way out, even
though I love what I'm doing now.
So maybe I did avoid it, and maybe I didn't.
Gwynne Ellen Ash