Secret burning CATALYST question

Wow! Thank you everybody who took the time to write the thoughtful comments to yesterday’s post! I really enjoyed reading them.

A question in yesterday’s mailbag is somewhat tied in to this discussion. Kim writes: i am 17 and just recently read lauries book catalyst in my english class. AFter reading this book a few classmates and myself were having a debate. i think that mikey is not terris kid but they believe that he is, i would love it if you could write me back and let me know.

I do not have a copy of CATALYST handy, so I can’t give out the exact page number (I really do need to finish unpacking the boxes of books). But yes, Mikey is definitely Teri’s son. After the Really Awful Thing happens (I don’t want to give that away for those who have not yet read the book), Teri calls him her son. Later, Kate talks to her father who says he suspects that the Mikey was the product of an assault on Teri by her own father, a criminal disgusting pig of a man who died in jail.

I chose not to make a huge deal out of these points because this is not a book about Teri. It’s a book about Kate. Teri is the catalyst who helps Kate see the changes she need to make in her life. Kate – a high achieving academically-driven kid – develops empathy for Teri, who comes from a very challenging background, and finds out there is more to life than SAT scores.

How does this tie in to yesterday’s discussion? Directly. If you scroll down the yesterday’s comments to a heartfelt post by bananared17 you will see the reason I wrote CATALYST. I firmly believe in the need for high schools to help teens learn as much as they possibly can to prepare them for what lies ahead. But our culture (yes, a generalization, I know) has deluded itself into believing that the only road to success leads through a top tier college, preferably Ivy League. Now don’t get me wrong, top tier colleges are very nice, but not everyone can or should strive for them.

I think we need to redefine what the point of high school is. Is it to get kids into college? If so, it is almost working. 66% of high school graduates go to college now. Is it to prepare kids to succeed in college? Then we are failing miserably because the national college drop-out rate is 50%. And if we tell teens that “success=college degree” then what does that mean for those people who don’t have one?

I think success means being a kind, moral, hard-working person who in a small way, leaves the world a better place. For some people, that will require a college degree. For others, it won’t. Your journey is to find out how to live your life by your own code, in a way that will bring you joy and satisfaction. You do NOT need to know what you’re going to do with your life when you are 18 years old. Hardly anybody does. Be nice, be healthy, try a bunch of different things and you’ll figure it out.

OK, long post and way too much philosophy on only one cup of coffee. It is snowing again (yay!) and I have to go make up new scenes for my revised WIP.

added later WAIT! WAIT! Read this marvelous poem that reflects on all this stuff we’ve been talking about! (It is the poem by Thomas Lux selected for December 6.)

96 Replies to “Secret burning CATALYST question”

  1. I have a comment on yesterday’s post:

    I just went to my school’s bookstore and looked in my English textbook from last semester, Writing Fiction (by Janet Burroway). The book mentions that modern writers can no longer “get away” with writing in dialect, because the author’s reasons for using dialect will be [mis]perceived as “political,” and the book reinforces this idea with a quote of John Updike saying pretty much the same thing.

    I happen to think dialect is awesome, but maybe Burroway’s statement helps explain why your book wasn’t as well-received as you would like(?)

  2. I have a comment on yesterday’s post:

    I just went to my school’s bookstore and looked in my English textbook from last semester, Writing Fiction (by Janet Burroway). The book mentions that modern writers can no longer “get away” with writing in dialect, because the author’s reasons for using dialect will be [mis]perceived as “political,” and the book reinforces this idea with a quote of John Updike saying pretty much the same thing.

    I happen to think dialect is awesome, but maybe Burroway’s statement helps explain why your book wasn’t as well-received as you would like(?)

    1. No. I actually think that comment is crap because there have been plenty of books with dialect in it…writers who are afraid of writing something that might be construed as political should find a different hobby. To engage in art is to be political.

      Actually PROM has done insanely well (thank you world!), and I think that was part of my confusion about the readers who rejected it because of the economic/class issues.

      I really appreciate that you took the time to look this up, though. I’d love to get into a debate with Janet Burroway.

      1. To clarify: Burroway’s comment was specifically about misspelling words on purpose to convey dialect. She says it’s going out of fashion (if you don’t believe me, look at dialect in Faulkner or Melville).

        I’m not sure i agree with her, and it’s really cool that you feel so strongly about this issue ^_^

        1. Thanks for the clarification. I’ve been out of fashion for most of my life…. no, for all of my life. Now that I know this, I will screw with spelling even more!

  3. I have a comment on yesterday’s post:

    I just went to my school’s bookstore and looked in my English textbook from last semester, Writing Fiction (by Janet Burroway). The book mentions that modern writers can no longer “get away” with writing in dialect, because the author’s reasons for using dialect will be [mis]perceived as “political,” and the book reinforces this idea with a quote of John Updike saying pretty much the same thing.

    I happen to think dialect is awesome, but maybe Burroway’s statement helps explain why your book wasn’t as well-received as you would like(?)

  4. No. I actually think that comment is crap because there have been plenty of books with dialect in it…writers who are afraid of writing something that might be construed as political should find a different hobby. To engage in art is to be political.

    Actually PROM has done insanely well (thank you world!), and I think that was part of my confusion about the readers who rejected it because of the economic/class issues.

    I really appreciate that you took the time to look this up, though. I’d love to get into a debate with Janet Burroway.

  5. No. I actually think that comment is crap because there have been plenty of books with dialect in it…writers who are afraid of writing something that might be construed as political should find a different hobby. To engage in art is to be political.

    Actually PROM has done insanely well (thank you world!), and I think that was part of my confusion about the readers who rejected it because of the economic/class issues.

    I really appreciate that you took the time to look this up, though. I’d love to get into a debate with Janet Burroway.

  6. To clarify: Burroway’s comment was specifically about misspelling words on purpose to convey dialect. She says it’s going out of fashion (if you don’t believe me, look at dialect in Faulkner or Melville).

    I’m not sure i agree with her, and it’s really cool that you feel so strongly about this issue ^_^

  7. To clarify: Burroway’s comment was specifically about misspelling words on purpose to convey dialect. She says it’s going out of fashion (if you don’t believe me, look at dialect in Faulkner or Melville).

    I’m not sure i agree with her, and it’s really cool that you feel so strongly about this issue ^_^

  8. Thanks for the clarification. I’ve been out of fashion for most of my life…. no, for all of my life. Now that I know this, I will screw with spelling even more!

  9. Thanks for the clarification. I’ve been out of fashion for most of my life…. no, for all of my life. Now that I know this, I will screw with spelling even more!

  10. Sometimes I don’t think I’m adequately prepared for college, but I think a lot of that is my fault. Last year during my junior year I missed a lot of school. Both of my grandparents who lived out of state passed away last December and I went down there for a week in October when my grandpa started getting sick to spend time with him and then for another week in November when he was put on life support and expected to die anytime. He ended up passing away on December 5th (yesterday was one year since he had passed away) so I was down there for more time for the funeral and to be with family and my grandma. My grandma started getting sick and she ended up passing away on December 28th so I was gone almost all of December. My school wouldn’t excuse hardly any of the days and I had a really tough time trying to catch back up. I had been a pretty good student up until then, but things just got overwhelming and I ended up failing a few classes that I needed because the teachers weren’t willing to work with me. This really upset me because I felt like I was stuck in a rut that I couldn’t climb out of due to circumstances that I still hadn’t come to terms with. I was having to deal with losing my grandparents back to back and then the fact that I would be failed for some of my classes. I did have two teachers who worked with me and spent extra time getting me caught back up. I didn’t really have a support system at home to come help me fight them, so I just had to keep things the way they were. I was so glad to see last year ending and I thought this year would be different..I thought I would finally feel like I was caught up to everyone else..but when I started..it was the same story..everyone in my classes were so much more ahead of me. I feel stuck, like I’ll never catch back up and now I’m having to take classes over that I have to have to graduate in June and it’s scary because I may not graduate and I was always so determined. I applied and have been accepted to Miami University, but I have to graduate first. That was just my comment on how I feel about my high school education. There are other things that every teen faces…I was in a two year relationship, but that too ended, I work 30 hours a week and I also coach and tutor on my free time. If the parents of those kids knew my academic background they probably wouldn’t let me tutor their kids..but if they knew ME as a person and knew what I really knew they would be glad to have me working with their kids. My grades don’t reflect my true abilities and that really upsets me. I want to be a teacher, but I feel like I’ve messed that up for myself..I feel like I’m going to be working my whole life in a mediocre job for nothing. If you haven’t noticed..this whole thing is stressing me out so much..I feel like SCREAMING!

    I’m really sorry for such a big comment, I just kept typing. Thanks for listening.

    Billie

  11. Sometimes I don’t think I’m adequately prepared for college, but I think a lot of that is my fault. Last year during my junior year I missed a lot of school. Both of my grandparents who lived out of state passed away last December and I went down there for a week in October when my grandpa started getting sick to spend time with him and then for another week in November when he was put on life support and expected to die anytime. He ended up passing away on December 5th (yesterday was one year since he had passed away) so I was down there for more time for the funeral and to be with family and my grandma. My grandma started getting sick and she ended up passing away on December 28th so I was gone almost all of December. My school wouldn’t excuse hardly any of the days and I had a really tough time trying to catch back up. I had been a pretty good student up until then, but things just got overwhelming and I ended up failing a few classes that I needed because the teachers weren’t willing to work with me. This really upset me because I felt like I was stuck in a rut that I couldn’t climb out of due to circumstances that I still hadn’t come to terms with. I was having to deal with losing my grandparents back to back and then the fact that I would be failed for some of my classes. I did have two teachers who worked with me and spent extra time getting me caught back up. I didn’t really have a support system at home to come help me fight them, so I just had to keep things the way they were. I was so glad to see last year ending and I thought this year would be different..I thought I would finally feel like I was caught up to everyone else..but when I started..it was the same story..everyone in my classes were so much more ahead of me. I feel stuck, like I’ll never catch back up and now I’m having to take classes over that I have to have to graduate in June and it’s scary because I may not graduate and I was always so determined. I applied and have been accepted to Miami University, but I have to graduate first. That was just my comment on how I feel about my high school education. There are other things that every teen faces…I was in a two year relationship, but that too ended, I work 30 hours a week and I also coach and tutor on my free time. If the parents of those kids knew my academic background they probably wouldn’t let me tutor their kids..but if they knew ME as a person and knew what I really knew they would be glad to have me working with their kids. My grades don’t reflect my true abilities and that really upsets me. I want to be a teacher, but I feel like I’ve messed that up for myself..I feel like I’m going to be working my whole life in a mediocre job for nothing. If you haven’t noticed..this whole thing is stressing me out so much..I feel like SCREAMING!

    I’m really sorry for such a big comment, I just kept typing. Thanks for listening.

    Billie

    1. that’s what they want you to think

      “I feel like I’m going to be working my whole life in a mediocre job for nothing.”

      That’s exactly what they want you to think! And it’s so not true!

      Don’t worry, if you want to graduate, you will, and if it has to be at your own pace, there is nothing wrong with that, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    2. Yep, you’ve been through a lot – way too much, in fact. I am really sorry for all of your losses and the pain.

      The good news is that you survived the ordeal, and you’ve learned a great deal about yourself and the world. It seems like you loved your grandparents – now is your time to honor their love and faith in you.

      Do you know why you are going to college? And why, specifically you chose Miami U? If you are feeling this overwhelmed right now, what can you do to make sure you’ll feel more in control next year? Hard questions, I know, but it is better to ask them now.

      Hang in there – I have a lot of confidence that you’ll get through this. Thanks for writing.

      1. I’ve never had a support system at home, but I have always knows that I was capable of much more than what people expected from me. I have been very fortunate to have had some of the best teachers in the world who have really helped me get through some rough times and encouraged me everyday. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be right now..THANK GOD FOR DEDICATED, COMPASSIONATE TEACHERS!
        I want to be a teacher, and hopefully make some profound differences in other’s lives as my teachers have done and continue to do for me. I was involved with the career tech program Teacher Academy in school last year during my junior year and I learned so much and it really helped me figure out that teaching is right for me, it’s what I want to do the rest of my life. There are a few different areas I’ve looked into. Secondary English is on the top of my list, but I’ve recently taken an interest in deaf education. I coach 8th grade basketball for the middle school that I attended and I have a deaf girl on my team and meeting her has opened my eyes so much. I really enjoy working with her. She inspires me and this 8th grade girl has made me really look into what I want to do for the rest of my life. I look forward to seeing her everyday for practices and games and I’ve really started looking into deaf education. I’m not sure if this is just a phase I’m going through because I’m freaked out about what I’m going to do after high school, but I really see this as a possiblity for me. I could be an interpreter, or even maybe teach sign language..I’m just not really sure if there is a big demand for this profession. I also want to continue on with my journalism, but I don’t want it to be my main focus.

        I applied to Miami University because it’s in my hometown and it’s really my fallback school. It’s a really, really good school so I don’t want you to think that ‘fallback’ means of lower grade, but I always wanted to get away for college. My best friend is going there as well, so he would be with me if I went. I don’t want people to think I’m going to a school because I’m following a boy–as crazy as the concept of having a best friend of the opposite sex, that’s what he is to me MY BEST FRIEND. I wanted to go to Berea College in Berea, Kentucky but I just don’t think that I would get accepted there.

        Things just seem really tough right now. I haven’t lived at home since I was 16 and it’s really getting overwhelming right now. I work way too much with going to school too, but I have to make money to take care of myself. I think when I finally get in college, it will feel like a vacation to me.

        Thanks for feeling confident in me. That’s really good to hear, really good. Also, thanks for making me aware of those questions that I really needed to answer. I’m very greatful.
        Thanks again,
        Billie

  12. Sometimes I don’t think I’m adequately prepared for college, but I think a lot of that is my fault. Last year during my junior year I missed a lot of school. Both of my grandparents who lived out of state passed away last December and I went down there for a week in October when my grandpa started getting sick to spend time with him and then for another week in November when he was put on life support and expected to die anytime. He ended up passing away on December 5th (yesterday was one year since he had passed away) so I was down there for more time for the funeral and to be with family and my grandma. My grandma started getting sick and she ended up passing away on December 28th so I was gone almost all of December. My school wouldn’t excuse hardly any of the days and I had a really tough time trying to catch back up. I had been a pretty good student up until then, but things just got overwhelming and I ended up failing a few classes that I needed because the teachers weren’t willing to work with me. This really upset me because I felt like I was stuck in a rut that I couldn’t climb out of due to circumstances that I still hadn’t come to terms with. I was having to deal with losing my grandparents back to back and then the fact that I would be failed for some of my classes. I did have two teachers who worked with me and spent extra time getting me caught back up. I didn’t really have a support system at home to come help me fight them, so I just had to keep things the way they were. I was so glad to see last year ending and I thought this year would be different..I thought I would finally feel like I was caught up to everyone else..but when I started..it was the same story..everyone in my classes were so much more ahead of me. I feel stuck, like I’ll never catch back up and now I’m having to take classes over that I have to have to graduate in June and it’s scary because I may not graduate and I was always so determined. I applied and have been accepted to Miami University, but I have to graduate first. That was just my comment on how I feel about my high school education. There are other things that every teen faces…I was in a two year relationship, but that too ended, I work 30 hours a week and I also coach and tutor on my free time. If the parents of those kids knew my academic background they probably wouldn’t let me tutor their kids..but if they knew ME as a person and knew what I really knew they would be glad to have me working with their kids. My grades don’t reflect my true abilities and that really upsets me. I want to be a teacher, but I feel like I’ve messed that up for myself..I feel like I’m going to be working my whole life in a mediocre job for nothing. If you haven’t noticed..this whole thing is stressing me out so much..I feel like SCREAMING!

    I’m really sorry for such a big comment, I just kept typing. Thanks for listening.

    Billie

  13. awesome poem!

    That poem was great. Have you read The Teenage Liberation Handbook? She brings up many interesting points–I refer to it often, even though I’m not a teenager anymore.

    I agree with the new coldplay and the lotr soundtrack, those are both excellent. I find myself listening to a lot of Patty Griffin, James Blunt, the Amelie soundtrack, and the Amadeus soundtrack as well.

    It wasn’t my parents that decided a Prestigious Univ. education wasn’t worth it, that was more my decision. I guess one of the reasons was after getting a decent education for free in public school for most of my life, I didn’t see how this college was really any different from that, and certainly couldn’t be worth that much money.

    I suggest to any high school senior I meet to consider taking a year off after high school, and doing something fantastic like traveling or writing or just working–whatever you want, really. I dropped out of college (with my 4.0, no less) and did a NOLS semester course, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. (Quick! Everyone go visit http://www.nols.edu)

  14. awesome poem!

    That poem was great. Have you read The Teenage Liberation Handbook? She brings up many interesting points–I refer to it often, even though I’m not a teenager anymore.

    I agree with the new coldplay and the lotr soundtrack, those are both excellent. I find myself listening to a lot of Patty Griffin, James Blunt, the Amelie soundtrack, and the Amadeus soundtrack as well.

    It wasn’t my parents that decided a Prestigious Univ. education wasn’t worth it, that was more my decision. I guess one of the reasons was after getting a decent education for free in public school for most of my life, I didn’t see how this college was really any different from that, and certainly couldn’t be worth that much money.

    I suggest to any high school senior I meet to consider taking a year off after high school, and doing something fantastic like traveling or writing or just working–whatever you want, really. I dropped out of college (with my 4.0, no less) and did a NOLS semester course, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. (Quick! Everyone go visit http://www.nols.edu)

  15. awesome poem!

    That poem was great. Have you read The Teenage Liberation Handbook? She brings up many interesting points–I refer to it often, even though I’m not a teenager anymore.

    I agree with the new coldplay and the lotr soundtrack, those are both excellent. I find myself listening to a lot of Patty Griffin, James Blunt, the Amelie soundtrack, and the Amadeus soundtrack as well.

    It wasn’t my parents that decided a Prestigious Univ. education wasn’t worth it, that was more my decision. I guess one of the reasons was after getting a decent education for free in public school for most of my life, I didn’t see how this college was really any different from that, and certainly couldn’t be worth that much money.

    I suggest to any high school senior I meet to consider taking a year off after high school, and doing something fantastic like traveling or writing or just working–whatever you want, really. I dropped out of college (with my 4.0, no less) and did a NOLS semester course, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. (Quick! Everyone go visit http://www.nols.edu)

  16. I agree completely. I read Catalyst as a high~school junior, and honors student thinking about going to college while persuing my dance career and eventually going on to graduate school. When my dance career unexpectedly took off, I decided to hold off on college. My family was taken aback, but I am learning a lot more about life by living it (and learning a lot more about dance by doing it for a living. A lot of people who “flipped” when I announced I wasn’t starting college are now a little calmer seeing that college wasn’t a crucial building block to my career.

  17. I agree completely. I read Catalyst as a high~school junior, and honors student thinking about going to college while persuing my dance career and eventually going on to graduate school. When my dance career unexpectedly took off, I decided to hold off on college. My family was taken aback, but I am learning a lot more about life by living it (and learning a lot more about dance by doing it for a living. A lot of people who “flipped” when I announced I wasn’t starting college are now a little calmer seeing that college wasn’t a crucial building block to my career.

  18. I agree completely. I read Catalyst as a high~school junior, and honors student thinking about going to college while persuing my dance career and eventually going on to graduate school. When my dance career unexpectedly took off, I decided to hold off on college. My family was taken aback, but I am learning a lot more about life by living it (and learning a lot more about dance by doing it for a living. A lot of people who “flipped” when I announced I wasn’t starting college are now a little calmer seeing that college wasn’t a crucial building block to my career.

  19. Dear Ms. Anderson,

    I agree with you on what you said about success and:”our culture (yes, a generalization, I know) has deluded itself into believing that the only road to success leads through a top tier college, preferably Ivy League. Now don’t get me wrong, top tier colleges are very nice, but not everyone can or should strive for them.”

    Honestly, not everyone needs to get into a prestigous school in order to be successful (though that is based on how you feel). “For the future is in your hands, no the future is in your hand.Play with your own score sheet.”I got that line from an OutKast song called “Vibrate”.I believe having faith and striving for goals,is what helps us rise to success.Sure no one is perfect (I know I’m not) but that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying or giving a best shot. I go to Southern Sonnecticut State University which is located 5-8 minutes down the road from Yale and I am happy where I am at so far. Being as it may, I know I could never afford to go to Yale due to the tuition and high standards I am not qualified for but in the end of this long journey, at least I can say I made something of myself by having the chance to go a college.

    I’m not saying college is the only way to life either, but to do what you want to do for your life and plans even if it includes college or not. Cuz in the end,you may end up regretting the things you never pushed for when you had the chance to.

  20. Dear Ms. Anderson,

    I agree with you on what you said about success and:”our culture (yes, a generalization, I know) has deluded itself into believing that the only road to success leads through a top tier college, preferably Ivy League. Now don’t get me wrong, top tier colleges are very nice, but not everyone can or should strive for them.”

    Honestly, not everyone needs to get into a prestigous school in order to be successful (though that is based on how you feel). “For the future is in your hands, no the future is in your hand.Play with your own score sheet.”I got that line from an OutKast song called “Vibrate”.I believe having faith and striving for goals,is what helps us rise to success.Sure no one is perfect (I know I’m not) but that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying or giving a best shot. I go to Southern Sonnecticut State University which is located 5-8 minutes down the road from Yale and I am happy where I am at so far. Being as it may, I know I could never afford to go to Yale due to the tuition and high standards I am not qualified for but in the end of this long journey, at least I can say I made something of myself by having the chance to go a college.

    I’m not saying college is the only way to life either, but to do what you want to do for your life and plans even if it includes college or not. Cuz in the end,you may end up regretting the things you never pushed for when you had the chance to.

  21. Dear Ms. Anderson,

    I agree with you on what you said about success and:”our culture (yes, a generalization, I know) has deluded itself into believing that the only road to success leads through a top tier college, preferably Ivy League. Now don’t get me wrong, top tier colleges are very nice, but not everyone can or should strive for them.”

    Honestly, not everyone needs to get into a prestigous school in order to be successful (though that is based on how you feel). “For the future is in your hands, no the future is in your hand.Play with your own score sheet.”I got that line from an OutKast song called “Vibrate”.I believe having faith and striving for goals,is what helps us rise to success.Sure no one is perfect (I know I’m not) but that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying or giving a best shot. I go to Southern Sonnecticut State University which is located 5-8 minutes down the road from Yale and I am happy where I am at so far. Being as it may, I know I could never afford to go to Yale due to the tuition and high standards I am not qualified for but in the end of this long journey, at least I can say I made something of myself by having the chance to go a college.

    I’m not saying college is the only way to life either, but to do what you want to do for your life and plans even if it includes college or not. Cuz in the end,you may end up regretting the things you never pushed for when you had the chance to.

  22. My wife and I have these discussions often, especially as our teen gets closer to college and our tweens get closer to teens. My wife was taught that there was one road to success in life, a freeway that runs straight through a university with no rest stops. She did take a few detours along the way and now often feels that she has failed in life because of it. In her parents’ world, your value was assigned by your social peers and by who you married (yes, my in-laws were quite distressed when my wife married me). Because I came from a different background, my definition of success is markedly different. For me growing up, there was no freeway, no highway, no street. Maybe there was a road, but it wasn’t even paved. I had to find my own way, and I truly think I’m better off because of it.

    So while I work at a university, I work hard to convince my own kids and the future teachers I teach that preparing kids for college is not our main purpose in education (too much time is spent in schools “getting kids ready” instead of doing something now (but that’s another long-winded post)).

    There are many roads to success and in fact, many different kinds of success.

  23. My wife and I have these discussions often, especially as our teen gets closer to college and our tweens get closer to teens. My wife was taught that there was one road to success in life, a freeway that runs straight through a university with no rest stops. She did take a few detours along the way and now often feels that she has failed in life because of it. In her parents’ world, your value was assigned by your social peers and by who you married (yes, my in-laws were quite distressed when my wife married me). Because I came from a different background, my definition of success is markedly different. For me growing up, there was no freeway, no highway, no street. Maybe there was a road, but it wasn’t even paved. I had to find my own way, and I truly think I’m better off because of it.

    So while I work at a university, I work hard to convince my own kids and the future teachers I teach that preparing kids for college is not our main purpose in education (too much time is spent in schools “getting kids ready” instead of doing something now (but that’s another long-winded post)).

    There are many roads to success and in fact, many different kinds of success.

    1. Try this – have you and your wife each pick 20 random adults. Ask them what their job is. Ask them what they thought at age 18 they would be doing now. Ask what their college major was (if they went to college). Ask how many years they went to college, if they changed schools, if they felt they were ready for the experience.

      And then try to figure out who is happy.

      In my experience, a lot of people who just “followed the rules” because that was what they were told to do feel cheated. Those who went through college because that was what they wanted, and they studied things that appealed to their passions, and they were on a campus that they loved – those folks had awesome, enriching, life-changing experiences.

      People seem to be happiest when they set their own goals, and make their own path towards them.

      1. What a great idea. I’ll try it, although I suspect that she’ll catch on quickly, being way smarter than I am, and stop listening. Some attitudes become so ingrained that logic and evidence can’t defeat them, especially when those attitudes are about ourselves.

  24. My wife and I have these discussions often, especially as our teen gets closer to college and our tweens get closer to teens. My wife was taught that there was one road to success in life, a freeway that runs straight through a university with no rest stops. She did take a few detours along the way and now often feels that she has failed in life because of it. In her parents’ world, your value was assigned by your social peers and by who you married (yes, my in-laws were quite distressed when my wife married me). Because I came from a different background, my definition of success is markedly different. For me growing up, there was no freeway, no highway, no street. Maybe there was a road, but it wasn’t even paved. I had to find my own way, and I truly think I’m better off because of it.

    So while I work at a university, I work hard to convince my own kids and the future teachers I teach that preparing kids for college is not our main purpose in education (too much time is spent in schools “getting kids ready” instead of doing something now (but that’s another long-winded post)).

    There are many roads to success and in fact, many different kinds of success.

  25. that’s what they want you to think

    “I feel like I’m going to be working my whole life in a mediocre job for nothing.”

    That’s exactly what they want you to think! And it’s so not true!

    Don’t worry, if you want to graduate, you will, and if it has to be at your own pace, there is nothing wrong with that, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  26. that’s what they want you to think

    “I feel like I’m going to be working my whole life in a mediocre job for nothing.”

    That’s exactly what they want you to think! And it’s so not true!

    Don’t worry, if you want to graduate, you will, and if it has to be at your own pace, there is nothing wrong with that, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  27. not sure about college

    Right now I’m not sure if college is where I want to go after high school. And my mom told me if I don’t want to go, then I don’t have to. She said me that there are plenty of people that have done without college and have been a great sucess and that half of the students that do go to college either drop out or don’t get good jobs-or something like that. Not saying that college graduates are not a success either. My dad however is a little upset with me because I had not discussed my decisions with him, and its not like I haven’t before. Or maybe that was me telling him and not discussing-which I have done with my mom. I feel that college should be our own choice-not anyone else’s. If we choose to go, then we go. If not then we don’t. I don’t think we should be forced into going. Some adults here might disagree with me-but that’s just my opinion. We reach that age where we’re able to make decisions for ourselves. I think college should be something on our list not theirs. I mean no disrespect in anyway. Just..my own thoughts. Anyhow I haven’t read Catalyst yet-the library kind of put it on hold for me so I’m just waiting for them to email!! I did however read Prom and liked it alot. I could relate to Ashley-my mom has had five kids and dad is talking about having number six and seven!!! I think the problem too was that people were expecting another book like Speak. I read comments that readers left on yahoo and Borders and one girl said that it was boring and a waste of time and I quote ‘If you’re looking for another book like Speak this is not it.’ Somebody else said they thought you did a bad job at humor-I disagree there because I laughed a lot and I have proof to back me up!!! And I am really looking forward to your next book!! I think I better stop rambling now and get off the net!!!

  28. not sure about college

    Right now I’m not sure if college is where I want to go after high school. And my mom told me if I don’t want to go, then I don’t have to. She said me that there are plenty of people that have done without college and have been a great sucess and that half of the students that do go to college either drop out or don’t get good jobs-or something like that. Not saying that college graduates are not a success either. My dad however is a little upset with me because I had not discussed my decisions with him, and its not like I haven’t before. Or maybe that was me telling him and not discussing-which I have done with my mom. I feel that college should be our own choice-not anyone else’s. If we choose to go, then we go. If not then we don’t. I don’t think we should be forced into going. Some adults here might disagree with me-but that’s just my opinion. We reach that age where we’re able to make decisions for ourselves. I think college should be something on our list not theirs. I mean no disrespect in anyway. Just..my own thoughts. Anyhow I haven’t read Catalyst yet-the library kind of put it on hold for me so I’m just waiting for them to email!! I did however read Prom and liked it alot. I could relate to Ashley-my mom has had five kids and dad is talking about having number six and seven!!! I think the problem too was that people were expecting another book like Speak. I read comments that readers left on yahoo and Borders and one girl said that it was boring and a waste of time and I quote ‘If you’re looking for another book like Speak this is not it.’ Somebody else said they thought you did a bad job at humor-I disagree there because I laughed a lot and I have proof to back me up!!! And I am really looking forward to your next book!! I think I better stop rambling now and get off the net!!!

  29. not sure about college

    Right now I’m not sure if college is where I want to go after high school. And my mom told me if I don’t want to go, then I don’t have to. She said me that there are plenty of people that have done without college and have been a great sucess and that half of the students that do go to college either drop out or don’t get good jobs-or something like that. Not saying that college graduates are not a success either. My dad however is a little upset with me because I had not discussed my decisions with him, and its not like I haven’t before. Or maybe that was me telling him and not discussing-which I have done with my mom. I feel that college should be our own choice-not anyone else’s. If we choose to go, then we go. If not then we don’t. I don’t think we should be forced into going. Some adults here might disagree with me-but that’s just my opinion. We reach that age where we’re able to make decisions for ourselves. I think college should be something on our list not theirs. I mean no disrespect in anyway. Just..my own thoughts. Anyhow I haven’t read Catalyst yet-the library kind of put it on hold for me so I’m just waiting for them to email!! I did however read Prom and liked it alot. I could relate to Ashley-my mom has had five kids and dad is talking about having number six and seven!!! I think the problem too was that people were expecting another book like Speak. I read comments that readers left on yahoo and Borders and one girl said that it was boring and a waste of time and I quote ‘If you’re looking for another book like Speak this is not it.’ Somebody else said they thought you did a bad job at humor-I disagree there because I laughed a lot and I have proof to back me up!!! And I am really looking forward to your next book!! I think I better stop rambling now and get off the net!!!

  30. For me, high school is just…there.

    My parents think of it as school. Academics is key for them. I live in a household that is about academics & the evil COLLEGE TRANSCRIPT.

    If I don’t get straight A’s, then in their eyes, I’m screwed for a good college.
    Well, then I’m already screwed.

    The high school I says that we have a 99+ percent graduation rate. Sure, that’s great and all, but about after? What has high school done for those graduates we call statistics?

  31. For me, high school is just…there.

    My parents think of it as school. Academics is key for them. I live in a household that is about academics & the evil COLLEGE TRANSCRIPT.

    If I don’t get straight A’s, then in their eyes, I’m screwed for a good college.
    Well, then I’m already screwed.

    The high school I says that we have a 99+ percent graduation rate. Sure, that’s great and all, but about after? What has high school done for those graduates we call statistics?

    1. You’re not screwed; I go to a college where 90% of students were in the top half of their highschool class, 59% were in the top quarter and 28% were in the top tenth. Well it took me 5 years to get through highschool and my grades were horrible. Very few As, some Bs, lots of Cs, Some Ds, and plenty of Fs. I can’t tell you how many classes I dropped or got kicked out of or didn’t attend 90% of the time or failed. My SAT score was good, but not amazing or anything because I only finished about 2/3s of it. So don’t worry, I mean they let me, fuck-up of the decade, in.

      My brother on the other hand had much better grades than me and he goes to a comunity college just because that’s where he wanted to go. In a way I think he made the right choice. I am gonna be up to my eyebrows in debt when I leave here and I work my ass off just to pass. His costs are covered by financial aid and he smokes pot all the time and does fine.

    2. When I was a reporter I tried to find a public school district in suburban Pennsylvania that had statistics on how well their graduates fared after high school. Nobody kept those stats. Makes you wonder why, huh?

  32. For me, high school is just…there.

    My parents think of it as school. Academics is key for them. I live in a household that is about academics & the evil COLLEGE TRANSCRIPT.

    If I don’t get straight A’s, then in their eyes, I’m screwed for a good college.
    Well, then I’m already screwed.

    The high school I says that we have a 99+ percent graduation rate. Sure, that’s great and all, but about after? What has high school done for those graduates we call statistics?

  33. Yesterday’s Post

    I just wanted to reply to yesterday’s post, about Prom. For me, one of the biggest reasons reading is so much fun is because it transports me to different worlds and allows me to peak inside someone else’s life, whether they are fictional or not. I don’t share the same lifestyle as the main character in Prom, however that didn’t matter. I don’t know what it was like to live in Jane Austen’s world, or Mark Twain’s or most other author’s. But that is why reading their books is so fulfilling. I get to catch a glimpse of it through their books. Why read, if you don’t want to learn?

  34. Yesterday’s Post

    I just wanted to reply to yesterday’s post, about Prom. For me, one of the biggest reasons reading is so much fun is because it transports me to different worlds and allows me to peak inside someone else’s life, whether they are fictional or not. I don’t share the same lifestyle as the main character in Prom, however that didn’t matter. I don’t know what it was like to live in Jane Austen’s world, or Mark Twain’s or most other author’s. But that is why reading their books is so fulfilling. I get to catch a glimpse of it through their books. Why read, if you don’t want to learn?

  35. Yesterday’s Post

    I just wanted to reply to yesterday’s post, about Prom. For me, one of the biggest reasons reading is so much fun is because it transports me to different worlds and allows me to peak inside someone else’s life, whether they are fictional or not. I don’t share the same lifestyle as the main character in Prom, however that didn’t matter. I don’t know what it was like to live in Jane Austen’s world, or Mark Twain’s or most other author’s. But that is why reading their books is so fulfilling. I get to catch a glimpse of it through their books. Why read, if you don’t want to learn?

  36. I’ve been a bookworm my whole life and reading has taught me a lot of things. among these are compassion and understanding. I think these are important things for a reader to learn to be able to connect to a character on a human level. in the end that is the connection that all human beings have to each other di-spite anything else. I love prom and didn’t even think about Ashley’s social or financial status or social status prom is simply the best hands down. – jessica from sheepshead bay high school

  37. I’ve been a bookworm my whole life and reading has taught me a lot of things. among these are compassion and understanding. I think these are important things for a reader to learn to be able to connect to a character on a human level. in the end that is the connection that all human beings have to each other di-spite anything else. I love prom and didn’t even think about Ashley’s social or financial status or social status prom is simply the best hands down. – jessica from sheepshead bay high school

  38. I’ve been a bookworm my whole life and reading has taught me a lot of things. among these are compassion and understanding. I think these are important things for a reader to learn to be able to connect to a character on a human level. in the end that is the connection that all human beings have to each other di-spite anything else. I love prom and didn’t even think about Ashley’s social or financial status or social status prom is simply the best hands down. – jessica from sheepshead bay high school

  39. wrongandangry

    hi this is kim the one with the question about terri and mikey, well i guess i was wrong, but i could of sworn there was a part in the book where kate said i can see why terri calls mikey her kid, so i suppose thats why i figured that it wasnt her kid. WEll it should be fun living it down tomorrow in class… couldnt you just say on your journal that he isnt terris child it would be alot easier to swallow. I really enjoyed this book and would definately recommend it, but the only thing about it that bothered me was the ending, i have way to many questions… basically you left me hanging way to much and should write a sequal unless u already have then i would like to know so i can read it and find out about kate and mitch, the house, etc.
    sincerely
    kim

  40. wrongandangry

    hi this is kim the one with the question about terri and mikey, well i guess i was wrong, but i could of sworn there was a part in the book where kate said i can see why terri calls mikey her kid, so i suppose thats why i figured that it wasnt her kid. WEll it should be fun living it down tomorrow in class… couldnt you just say on your journal that he isnt terris child it would be alot easier to swallow. I really enjoyed this book and would definately recommend it, but the only thing about it that bothered me was the ending, i have way to many questions… basically you left me hanging way to much and should write a sequal unless u already have then i would like to know so i can read it and find out about kate and mitch, the house, etc.
    sincerely
    kim

    1. Re: wrongandangry

      Sorry I had to ruin your theory, Kim, but you get major points for tracking me down and asking the question. If you can find the quote in question, post it here and we can talk about it again.

      I deliberately left the ending of the book very open. I wanted you – the reader- to be left thinking about the possible paths those two characters might take. The idea of a sequel is very interesting.

  41. wrongandangry

    hi this is kim the one with the question about terri and mikey, well i guess i was wrong, but i could of sworn there was a part in the book where kate said i can see why terri calls mikey her kid, so i suppose thats why i figured that it wasnt her kid. WEll it should be fun living it down tomorrow in class… couldnt you just say on your journal that he isnt terris child it would be alot easier to swallow. I really enjoyed this book and would definately recommend it, but the only thing about it that bothered me was the ending, i have way to many questions… basically you left me hanging way to much and should write a sequal unless u already have then i would like to know so i can read it and find out about kate and mitch, the house, etc.
    sincerely
    kim

  42. You’re not screwed; I go to a college where 90% of students were in the top half of their highschool class, 59% were in the top quarter and 28% were in the top tenth. Well it took me 5 years to get through highschool and my grades were horrible. Very few As, some Bs, lots of Cs, Some Ds, and plenty of Fs. I can’t tell you how many classes I dropped or got kicked out of or didn’t attend 90% of the time or failed. My SAT score was good, but not amazing or anything because I only finished about 2/3s of it. So don’t worry, I mean they let me, fuck-up of the decade, in.

    My brother on the other hand had much better grades than me and he goes to a comunity college just because that’s where he wanted to go. In a way I think he made the right choice. I am gonna be up to my eyebrows in debt when I leave here and I work my ass off just to pass. His costs are covered by financial aid and he smokes pot all the time and does fine.

  43. You’re not screwed; I go to a college where 90% of students were in the top half of their highschool class, 59% were in the top quarter and 28% were in the top tenth. Well it took me 5 years to get through highschool and my grades were horrible. Very few As, some Bs, lots of Cs, Some Ds, and plenty of Fs. I can’t tell you how many classes I dropped or got kicked out of or didn’t attend 90% of the time or failed. My SAT score was good, but not amazing or anything because I only finished about 2/3s of it. So don’t worry, I mean they let me, fuck-up of the decade, in.

    My brother on the other hand had much better grades than me and he goes to a comunity college just because that’s where he wanted to go. In a way I think he made the right choice. I am gonna be up to my eyebrows in debt when I leave here and I work my ass off just to pass. His costs are covered by financial aid and he smokes pot all the time and does fine.

  44. well….

    I think you’re advice is completely sound… but it’s so hard to do when you have no support system to help you figure out what’s good for you. What are trapped kids going to do?? I hate to sound so morose…

  45. well….

    I think you’re advice is completely sound… but it’s so hard to do when you have no support system to help you figure out what’s good for you. What are trapped kids going to do?? I hate to sound so morose…

    1. Re: well….

      I know exactly what you mean. My heart aches for those kids. Some of them turn to teachers – sainted, blessed teachers – who go way above and beyond the call of duty and offer emotional support and good solid advice to kids who want to make a better life for themselves.

      I believe all of us adults are called to be aware of the teens and kids who come through our lives, and to offer them healthy role models and loads of encourgement. It’s that whole “takes a village” concept. I love it.

    2. Re: well….

      Yeah. Definitely feeling that right now.
      And I really have no advice for you because I sure havn’t figured it out. But ultimately, you have to make a decision that’s good for yourself, and even if there are some bumps along the way, you’ll eventually get there.
      I hope! Lol and good luck.

      1. Re: well….

        I was one of those kids. Now I’m in college, and am having a horrible time still, because of lessons and self-confidence I didn’t learn at a really crucial time. I never found that ‘one teacher or role model’ and my parents were definitely no help either. Right now I feel like I’m really paying for my naivete and inability to seek help.
        I wasn’t prepared for college. I’m at a huge public university, surrounded by excellence of every kind, and am unable to tap into it. And the more I really pay attention and look around, the more I see people just like me, wading their way through something they don’t really understand.

  46. well….

    I think you’re advice is completely sound… but it’s so hard to do when you have no support system to help you figure out what’s good for you. What are trapped kids going to do?? I hate to sound so morose…

  47. Yep, you’ve been through a lot – way too much, in fact. I am really sorry for all of your losses and the pain.

    The good news is that you survived the ordeal, and you’ve learned a great deal about yourself and the world. It seems like you loved your grandparents – now is your time to honor their love and faith in you.

    Do you know why you are going to college? And why, specifically you chose Miami U? If you are feeling this overwhelmed right now, what can you do to make sure you’ll feel more in control next year? Hard questions, I know, but it is better to ask them now.

    Hang in there – I have a lot of confidence that you’ll get through this. Thanks for writing.

  48. Yep, you’ve been through a lot – way too much, in fact. I am really sorry for all of your losses and the pain.

    The good news is that you survived the ordeal, and you’ve learned a great deal about yourself and the world. It seems like you loved your grandparents – now is your time to honor their love and faith in you.

    Do you know why you are going to college? And why, specifically you chose Miami U? If you are feeling this overwhelmed right now, what can you do to make sure you’ll feel more in control next year? Hard questions, I know, but it is better to ask them now.

    Hang in there – I have a lot of confidence that you’ll get through this. Thanks for writing.

  49. Try this – have you and your wife each pick 20 random adults. Ask them what their job is. Ask them what they thought at age 18 they would be doing now. Ask what their college major was (if they went to college). Ask how many years they went to college, if they changed schools, if they felt they were ready for the experience.

    And then try to figure out who is happy.

    In my experience, a lot of people who just “followed the rules” because that was what they were told to do feel cheated. Those who went through college because that was what they wanted, and they studied things that appealed to their passions, and they were on a campus that they loved – those folks had awesome, enriching, life-changing experiences.

    People seem to be happiest when they set their own goals, and make their own path towards them.

  50. Try this – have you and your wife each pick 20 random adults. Ask them what their job is. Ask them what they thought at age 18 they would be doing now. Ask what their college major was (if they went to college). Ask how many years they went to college, if they changed schools, if they felt they were ready for the experience.

    And then try to figure out who is happy.

    In my experience, a lot of people who just “followed the rules” because that was what they were told to do feel cheated. Those who went through college because that was what they wanted, and they studied things that appealed to their passions, and they were on a campus that they loved – those folks had awesome, enriching, life-changing experiences.

    People seem to be happiest when they set their own goals, and make their own path towards them.

  51. When I was a reporter I tried to find a public school district in suburban Pennsylvania that had statistics on how well their graduates fared after high school. Nobody kept those stats. Makes you wonder why, huh?

  52. When I was a reporter I tried to find a public school district in suburban Pennsylvania that had statistics on how well their graduates fared after high school. Nobody kept those stats. Makes you wonder why, huh?

  53. Re: wrongandangry

    Sorry I had to ruin your theory, Kim, but you get major points for tracking me down and asking the question. If you can find the quote in question, post it here and we can talk about it again.

    I deliberately left the ending of the book very open. I wanted you – the reader- to be left thinking about the possible paths those two characters might take. The idea of a sequel is very interesting.

  54. Re: wrongandangry

    Sorry I had to ruin your theory, Kim, but you get major points for tracking me down and asking the question. If you can find the quote in question, post it here and we can talk about it again.

    I deliberately left the ending of the book very open. I wanted you – the reader- to be left thinking about the possible paths those two characters might take. The idea of a sequel is very interesting.

  55. Re: well….

    I know exactly what you mean. My heart aches for those kids. Some of them turn to teachers – sainted, blessed teachers – who go way above and beyond the call of duty and offer emotional support and good solid advice to kids who want to make a better life for themselves.

    I believe all of us adults are called to be aware of the teens and kids who come through our lives, and to offer them healthy role models and loads of encourgement. It’s that whole “takes a village” concept. I love it.

  56. Re: well….

    I know exactly what you mean. My heart aches for those kids. Some of them turn to teachers – sainted, blessed teachers – who go way above and beyond the call of duty and offer emotional support and good solid advice to kids who want to make a better life for themselves.

    I believe all of us adults are called to be aware of the teens and kids who come through our lives, and to offer them healthy role models and loads of encourgement. It’s that whole “takes a village” concept. I love it.

  57. What a great idea. I’ll try it, although I suspect that she’ll catch on quickly, being way smarter than I am, and stop listening. Some attitudes become so ingrained that logic and evidence can’t defeat them, especially when those attitudes are about ourselves.

  58. What a great idea. I’ll try it, although I suspect that she’ll catch on quickly, being way smarter than I am, and stop listening. Some attitudes become so ingrained that logic and evidence can’t defeat them, especially when those attitudes are about ourselves.

  59. Re: well….

    Yeah. Definitely feeling that right now.
    And I really have no advice for you because I sure havn’t figured it out. But ultimately, you have to make a decision that’s good for yourself, and even if there are some bumps along the way, you’ll eventually get there.
    I hope! Lol and good luck.

  60. Re: well….

    Yeah. Definitely feeling that right now.
    And I really have no advice for you because I sure havn’t figured it out. But ultimately, you have to make a decision that’s good for yourself, and even if there are some bumps along the way, you’ll eventually get there.
    I hope! Lol and good luck.

  61. I’ve never had a support system at home, but I have always knows that I was capable of much more than what people expected from me. I have been very fortunate to have had some of the best teachers in the world who have really helped me get through some rough times and encouraged me everyday. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be right now..THANK GOD FOR DEDICATED, COMPASSIONATE TEACHERS!
    I want to be a teacher, and hopefully make some profound differences in other’s lives as my teachers have done and continue to do for me. I was involved with the career tech program Teacher Academy in school last year during my junior year and I learned so much and it really helped me figure out that teaching is right for me, it’s what I want to do the rest of my life. There are a few different areas I’ve looked into. Secondary English is on the top of my list, but I’ve recently taken an interest in deaf education. I coach 8th grade basketball for the middle school that I attended and I have a deaf girl on my team and meeting her has opened my eyes so much. I really enjoy working with her. She inspires me and this 8th grade girl has made me really look into what I want to do for the rest of my life. I look forward to seeing her everyday for practices and games and I’ve really started looking into deaf education. I’m not sure if this is just a phase I’m going through because I’m freaked out about what I’m going to do after high school, but I really see this as a possiblity for me. I could be an interpreter, or even maybe teach sign language..I’m just not really sure if there is a big demand for this profession. I also want to continue on with my journalism, but I don’t want it to be my main focus.

    I applied to Miami University because it’s in my hometown and it’s really my fallback school. It’s a really, really good school so I don’t want you to think that ‘fallback’ means of lower grade, but I always wanted to get away for college. My best friend is going there as well, so he would be with me if I went. I don’t want people to think I’m going to a school because I’m following a boy–as crazy as the concept of having a best friend of the opposite sex, that’s what he is to me MY BEST FRIEND. I wanted to go to Berea College in Berea, Kentucky but I just don’t think that I would get accepted there.

    Things just seem really tough right now. I haven’t lived at home since I was 16 and it’s really getting overwhelming right now. I work way too much with going to school too, but I have to make money to take care of myself. I think when I finally get in college, it will feel like a vacation to me.

    Thanks for feeling confident in me. That’s really good to hear, really good. Also, thanks for making me aware of those questions that I really needed to answer. I’m very greatful.
    Thanks again,
    Billie

  62. I’ve never had a support system at home, but I have always knows that I was capable of much more than what people expected from me. I have been very fortunate to have had some of the best teachers in the world who have really helped me get through some rough times and encouraged me everyday. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be right now..THANK GOD FOR DEDICATED, COMPASSIONATE TEACHERS!
    I want to be a teacher, and hopefully make some profound differences in other’s lives as my teachers have done and continue to do for me. I was involved with the career tech program Teacher Academy in school last year during my junior year and I learned so much and it really helped me figure out that teaching is right for me, it’s what I want to do the rest of my life. There are a few different areas I’ve looked into. Secondary English is on the top of my list, but I’ve recently taken an interest in deaf education. I coach 8th grade basketball for the middle school that I attended and I have a deaf girl on my team and meeting her has opened my eyes so much. I really enjoy working with her. She inspires me and this 8th grade girl has made me really look into what I want to do for the rest of my life. I look forward to seeing her everyday for practices and games and I’ve really started looking into deaf education. I’m not sure if this is just a phase I’m going through because I’m freaked out about what I’m going to do after high school, but I really see this as a possiblity for me. I could be an interpreter, or even maybe teach sign language..I’m just not really sure if there is a big demand for this profession. I also want to continue on with my journalism, but I don’t want it to be my main focus.

    I applied to Miami University because it’s in my hometown and it’s really my fallback school. It’s a really, really good school so I don’t want you to think that ‘fallback’ means of lower grade, but I always wanted to get away for college. My best friend is going there as well, so he would be with me if I went. I don’t want people to think I’m going to a school because I’m following a boy–as crazy as the concept of having a best friend of the opposite sex, that’s what he is to me MY BEST FRIEND. I wanted to go to Berea College in Berea, Kentucky but I just don’t think that I would get accepted there.

    Things just seem really tough right now. I haven’t lived at home since I was 16 and it’s really getting overwhelming right now. I work way too much with going to school too, but I have to make money to take care of myself. I think when I finally get in college, it will feel like a vacation to me.

    Thanks for feeling confident in me. That’s really good to hear, really good. Also, thanks for making me aware of those questions that I really needed to answer. I’m very greatful.
    Thanks again,
    Billie

  63. Re: well….

    I was one of those kids. Now I’m in college, and am having a horrible time still, because of lessons and self-confidence I didn’t learn at a really crucial time. I never found that ‘one teacher or role model’ and my parents were definitely no help either. Right now I feel like I’m really paying for my naivete and inability to seek help.
    I wasn’t prepared for college. I’m at a huge public university, surrounded by excellence of every kind, and am unable to tap into it. And the more I really pay attention and look around, the more I see people just like me, wading their way through something they don’t really understand.

  64. Re: well….

    I was one of those kids. Now I’m in college, and am having a horrible time still, because of lessons and self-confidence I didn’t learn at a really crucial time. I never found that ‘one teacher or role model’ and my parents were definitely no help either. Right now I feel like I’m really paying for my naivete and inability to seek help.
    I wasn’t prepared for college. I’m at a huge public university, surrounded by excellence of every kind, and am unable to tap into it. And the more I really pay attention and look around, the more I see people just like me, wading their way through something they don’t really understand.

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