“I was completely the eager beaver in school, I was the girl in the front of the class who was the first person to put her hand up, and it’s often not cool to be the person that puts themself out there, and I’ve often gotten teased mercilessly, but I found that ultimately if you truly pour your heart into what you believe in — even if it makes you vulnerable — amazing things can and will happen.” – Emma Watson
I was always a kid who loved school. I’m a reader, I like to learn. I was always glad for the first day of school. New teacher, new projects. I always liked to be seen as smart, but I wasn’t always very loud in class. Until I reached college I didn’t speak out much, I didn’t raise my hand a lot. I was the type of kid who would sit in my seat hoping to be chosen by the teacher to go to the board or read out loud but never actually volunteering in case people realized that I was a keener.
I don’t know what changed for me in college. I guess I was allowed to break out of the box I had been in having been with the same kids from kindergarten through high school. Suddenly I was in a new place, with new people and no pre-determined view of me. I wasn’t afraid to raise my hand. I was proud to be the smart kid. I was outspoken. I knew what I wanted.
It changes when you get to choose exactly what you’re doing, you know what you’re there to learn and what your end goal is. But when I went back to university the first time I had no idea what my end goal was. I wanted a degree. That simple. I knew that I needed a degree to get the kind of job I was looking at, so I picked a degree that had a lot of classes I thought would be interesting and I went for it.
Now I’m going back to get my Masters in something that I’m really excited about. I know I will be interested in my classes, but I picked them because they fit into my schedule, because I need days off to work and I need time to be home for my kid.
But I’m still going to excel.
I do sit in the front of the classroom, and I join in discussions and I raise my hand. I have an opinion, I have lots of life experience and I really don’t give a damn what the other students think, because I’m in school to get the most out of it for me.
I hope that I can demonstrate to my daughter that being smart and being interested is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s something I want her to learn long before I did.
You will find your people, you will find your passions. The ones who mind don’t matter and the ones who matter don’t mind.