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2014/09/03

TMI Questions – Classic Edition: Back To School


TMI Questions – Classic Edition: 
Back To School

Given that all the kiddies are heading back to those hallowed halls this week, I thought it fitting to select this particular TMI Questions – Classic Edition.

Things have changed so much since I was in high school.  I can’t imagine who or what I could become, given the current environment. 

But such thoughts are second guessing the universe.  My experience was exactly what it was meant to be.  And, in that sense, given the chance, I would probably not change a thing.

Because I sort of like who I turned out to be.

Oh, it took me forever to get here… but.

Yep.

It has been quite an education.

What level of education have you earned?

B.A. – Business Administration

And a degree in T.V./Radio Broadcasting

Where?

Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN

Loved the campus.  Loved the faculty.  Loved the flexibility.

It worked extremely well with my life at the time and cost way too much, but… in the end, it was extremely worth it.

I also attended a number of other schools, with mixed success.

T.V./Radio Broadcasting?  For me, a complete waste of time and money.

With the exception of my time at Augsburg, throughout my education, my being gay was this unmentionable thing that was going to severely limit who I could become or what I could accomplish.  It was like shadowboxing reality. 

However, of all the colleges I attended, I hated the University of Minnesota the most.  It was a soul crushing experience.  I am not someone who can be one of a million anything.  I can’t be ‘just a number’.

I also disliked entire courses where the instructor showed up the first day, mid-terms, and finals.  Otherwise, we watched a film, which was supposed to pass for lectures.

I don’t learn that way. 

If you went to college, did you join the Greek system?

No.  I was invited at one point and declined.  I am not a joiner of groups.  No group joiner, am I.

I find it odd that the tradition continues.  The only time you hear about them are when someone dies of alcohol poisoning or hazing related activities.  The occasional gang rape… that sort of thing.

Ah, yes… college life.  Good times.  Good times.

If money and time weren't an issue, would you go back to school?

Yes.  In a heart beat.

I loved going to school.  Especially in the age of laptops and wi-fi.  Research was a breeze.  Writing was fun.  I like deadlines and a little pressure. 

It does bring out the over-achiever in me, though.  And I hate that guy.  He’s so filled with anxiety.  He just sucks all the life out of the room. 

What would you study?

Literature.  English.  Creative Writing.

Ever make it under the bleachers?

No.  But I did get majorly groped on the catwalks above the stage, and got kissed and fell in love in the lighting booth.

Neither ended well.

I mean, there was sex, yes.  Some of it really, really good.

But, no…

Neither ended well.

Knowing what you know now, what would you change about your education?

Never study theatre.

What a waste.

If you insist on doing so, go to class, get the degree and get it over with. 

But don’t do it. 

Theatre in college is such a douchebag waste of time.  You end up dealing with the very worst sort of people.  It’s not a healthy introduction to adult life.

Keep in mind that you are stuck in a big black box with a bunch of neurotic star wannabes all working through their personal shit.  It’s a petri dish of disaster. And there’s no cure for whatever you got brewing in there, kids.  It scars you for life. Messes up your head, big time.

The other thing I would change?  I would have dropped out of school, put on my big boy pants, defied my mother, and moved to New York when I had the chance. 

No, I don’t delude myself into thinking that I would have actually ‘made it’, but I was offered a part in an Off-Broadway production of ‘Short Eyes’.  And, given how things turned out for me, staying, rather than moving, I really should have found the balls and gone for it. 

However… I was so filled with fear in those days.  My sexuality terrified me.  My mother terrified me.  And I was totally clueless about the real world.  High school had prepared me for absolutely nothing, but a future of self-loathing. 

Going to New York?  That would have been an education in and of itself.  I would have been forced to survive. 

Of course, I’d be dead by now.  Probably gone before I was thirty. 

But, still…

Save that?   I wish I would have studied nursing or business administration from the get go.  Or become an accountant. 

Being an accountant actually holds a great deal of appeal to me, as, I imagine, you needn’t deal with a great number of people.

Yeah.  People and I… we, ummm… we don’t get on so good.

Bonus
What was your best or worst experience in school?

Oh, you know me; I’m going to want to write about both.

Best

Graduating from college Summa Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.96.

Nothing beats smart.  Or, at least the appearance of being smart.

I don’t kid myself.  I am clever – not smart.  I ‘gamed’ the system and managed to win – for once.  

And that, in and of itself, is enough of an accomplishment for me to brag about it.

Worst

I won’t revisit high school days.  It was such a disheartening experience.  Living with small-minded Neanderthals really wears on one’s nerves, leaving one neurotic and over-anxious.

Oh, I’d seen enough made-for-television movies and after-school specials to know how to survive.  I’d also read ‘I Never Promised You A Rose Garden’, ‘The Bell Jar’, and ‘Go Ask Alice’, so I was well aware of who not to be. 

I pasted on a smile and pretended.  Pretended really, really hard.

No.  Worst experience goes to my attempting suicide during spring semester during my first year in college, failing miserably, and then living another year and half in that same environment with no one to talk to about it. 

My isolation and self-loathing all sprang from my inability to come to terms with being gay.  And there was no one to talk to about it. The only other gay person I knew was such a train wreck of a human being (a truly hateful person) that I couldn’t turn to him, either. 

It never occurred to me to simply pack up and get out.  I didn’t know the world worked that way.  And I was terrified of the world.

That left seeking some kind of help via the college.  I actually broached the subject with a counselor and was told that they couldn’t help me with ‘that’.  They then asked me if there was anything else they could help me with, stood up, told me to be sure to go to classes, and sent me on my way.

It was a different time.

It would take me seven more years to come to terms with my sexuality.  It would take me many more to actually accept myself as a gay man. 

Looking back?  I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone.

Yep. 

Quite the education.








 
  




















1 comment:

BlkJack said...

Funny thing, I loved my college experience. The one thing I would change would be my college of choice. I would trade my experience at the University of Michigan to University of Southern California. I love California and wished I had moved here earlier.
As far as the greek system, I, also, loved my fraternal experience with Lambda Chi Alpha.

BlkJack