I’m Not Your Ideal Graduate

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

When I was eight I decided that I wanted to go to Harvard. It was the mid-eighties, and not only were Harvard sweatshirts with the rolled cuffs the “in” thing to wear, but in my limited scope of the world I knew that it was an impressive school. I felt that if I went there people would say, “Wow, she went to Harvard! That’s amazing!” and I wanted people to think I was amazing more than anything. I wore that sweatshirt until it fell apart. I told anyone who would listen. It was what success looked like to me.


Not long after my decision to get into Harvard, I decided that I wanted to go to law school. Criminal law interested me the most but I couldn’t stand violence, so I decided on corporate law instead. A lawyer that graduated Harvard law. That sounded like success to me.


I never wanted kids. I spent my childhood taking care of other people’s kids. They were the last thing I wanted. I wanted to be consumed with my successful career. A single, childless, successful Harvard law graduate.


I never made it into Harvard. I actually never even tried.


I never made it to law school.


Instead, I became lost in what I really wanted to do with my life when all my goals began to fall apart. I tried to sell Mary Kay. I transferred to the tech school and started a medical transcription degree. I had a knack for medical terms and what they meant. When I became bored of that, I tried selling real estate. I worked at Walmart. I waitressed. I tried to start a photography business. I worked for a place called Deal Chicken. I quit when they tried to make me dress in a chicken costume and stand on the corner clucking. All of that felt wrong, and because of feeling wrong, that all felt like failure.


Then, I began to have children of my own and loved them more than I thought it was possible to love other humans. That felt like success.


They led me to desire a degree in education. I graduated when I was 27. It looked like success to me.

I went on to my graduate degrees with four littles and working full-time. A successful, working mother, grad student and teacher.


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