This is a rather ambiguous subject but I’m going to interpret it as “My Academic Experience.”
If you want to hear about my high-school experience, and/or my opinions on the American education system, I’ve already done so here.
Generally speaking, I always enjoyed learning and going to school. Despite all the bureaucratic nonsense that interfered with my K-12 education, I loved learning.
In middle school I began to lean towards English, music and I guess what’s called the “soft” sciences – social studies, history, etc. I didn’t mind science but it wasn’t my favorite. Middle school was also when I became aware of not wanting to be the Question Kid: the one who’s always raising her hand, always asking or answering questions. I didn’t usually let this stop me from participating, but like I said, this was the age when I became aware of this. Did it interfere with my education? I’m not sure. I definitely saw it interfere with other students’ education, though – particularly girls.
I’ll spare the bulk of high school since I already wrote about it in the above link. Suffice it to say I loved English and choir, and highly enjoyed math – just not enough to pursue it to a higher level. I had a science teacher that put me off science completely, and to this day I have a complex about it, an overall feeling of, “Oh, I’m no good at science.” For this reason every science requirement I had in community college and university I filled with the least science-sounding classes I could find: oceanography, astronomy, etc.
Community college was a huge learning curve for me. It made me realize how badly my education was lacking in high school, and it helped me prepare for a four-year university. Students there were older, more mature and took education seriously. I am immensely grateful for the Running Start program that allowed me to take community college classes that also were applied to my high-school degree.
Whitworth was an excellent fit me for college. Though I transferred there with my Associate’s Degree, I double-majored and still had some catching up to do for a few classes that didn’t transfer. This meant I still was there for four years (sans my year in New Zealand) so I felt like I had the true four-year college experience. I started living in the “Fungeon” (a basement floor) with some incredible hall mates with whom I am still good friends today. That set the foundation for three more years in a school where I felt appreciated. Professors had me over for dinner and class sizes were sometimes under ten students.
At first, given my educational background to that point, I was convinced the admissions office had made a mistake in letting me in. Everyone around me was so smart. They discussed books they’d read in high school that I hadn’t. They came from private high schools and seemed more articulate.
One day my first semester I got an e-mail from my reading-lit professor asking me to come to his office. It was vaguely written and I worried I was in trouble. When I arrived, he said another English professor had told him about a research paper I was writing on the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska. When I confirmed that was true, he handed me a copy of a “best of” anthology of the poet’s works, for me to keep. When I left his office, I thought, “Maybe I am supposed to be here.” And from then on I could usually convince myself of that.