If people lived to age 32, I would have had my educational mid-life crisis last year while I was sitting in AP Biology class. For my whole life, I had an aspiration to be a doctor and had enrolled in this class seeing it as something of a stepping-stone to my goal. But then it fell apart. I remember the moment clearly. Our teacher had my undeserving rapt attention as she droned on about the partial diffusion of sodium chloride through the Loop of Henle in the nephron, the operational unit of the kidney. As I looked down at what few items I had scribbled on my paper (a heading for my notes, the notes themselves, replete with sufficient question marks, and a scribbling of what could have been a large dog, or a banana), it occurred to me that I really didn't care, and I would rather repeat high school than spend eight years of my life studying pedantic details that as near as I can figure, were of questionable importance to a high school student to begin with. I knew more of the intimate details about my spleen than most of my personal relationships.
I've completely forgotten the importance of DNA polymerase, but what I did learn from that class is that if my time in school is limited, I'm going to take classes in the interest of learning, not to pass some absurd test or to live up to someone else's unfounded aspirations.
It is because of this that I am seeking a liberal arts education and am unable to conceive of what I will be doing after college. I have learned that any plans I make at this stage in my life are destined to be more of a hindrance than a help to my education.
In what was little more than a ploy to get out of the the town I've lived in for most of my life I spent part of last summer in Alaska studying Japanese at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. It was an accelerated language course where I received a semester's credit for a month of work. It didn't come easily, as the class met every day for four hours and there were frequent tests. However, I knew that after three years of forgettable classes and unforgettable work I was finally getting an education that could focus my attention without scattering it among several classes. That, if extended into a college experience, could finally have an impact on my life. Gee, where to find one?
I will be graduating at the end of this semester on January 24th to take a job that has been offered to me by a former boss. I worked for him as a heavy equipment export broker during August of last summer. I discussed with him my plans for an early graduation, and he offered me work on several projects of his in Mexico. If all goes as planned, I shall board a plane in the beginning of February. Why am I telling you this? Because, as one method of satisfying my graduation requirements, I started doing volunteer construction work for Habitat for Humanity in a nearby neighborhood. Working for Habitat has done so many things for me, it's difficult to list them all. Without looking at its results, the physical labor itself is important; I've always been in good shape, but actual WORK is just something not taught at Henry M. Gunn High School. My work with them is also my first meaningful volunteer labor and has opened my eyes to the fact that I don't just have to sit around and feel guilty about the homeless, I can do something about it.