Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ten Years Ago

I know! I know! I just wrote about how I wouldn't write to my teenaged self. And really there's not a lot I'd change. BUT I have been thinking about my 30th birthday and the decade that's past since I left my teens.

Ten years ago, I was an angsty child. I still have angst. But ten years ago, I had a t-shirt that said "I have issues" and I wore it with pride. I had little sense of where life would take. (And had I known it would go to Cincinnati, I would have laughed.)

Ten years ago, I was starting Hebrew III. I loved Hebrew. I loved hanging out with my study buddy, Leah. I started to love (being around) Speech and Debate. I was hanging out in the Communication prof's office. I was reading interesting books. I was fully embracing feminism (which is not a dirty word fyi). I learned about grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Yum...

Ten years ago, right about this time, I was talking to my Hebrew prof about taking Hebrew farther. He recommended that I apply to this fellowship program in Biocultural Anthropology sponsored by Notre Dame and the National Science Foundation. (Technically it was to get to Israel, but that was becoming politically unstable due to the eventual declaration of war on Iraq.) It would expose me to related fields of study alongside Israel.

But I was angsty and doubtful and unsure. I was pretty sure I wasn't good enough. But in sharing these insecurities with the Communication prof, she told me to stop doubting. The Hebrew prof thought I was good enough, the least I could do was apply.

And so I did.

And I got in.

And I went to Notre Dame that summer. I had the most eye-opening summer of my life. Scholarship as a vocation (heck an avocation) became the goal. It was hard. I live with some of the criticism ringing in my ears. (I'm still an angsty adult sometimes.) But it was good.

I learned about interdisciplinary studies. I learned about Byzantists (Note to my adult self: relearn Greek and become a Byzantist, you'd love it.) I learned about college life outside Concordia. I learned about JEPD. I saw machines that split DNA. I sifted through dirt on a dig.

And it all started only cold winter afternoon, ten years ago.

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