For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t have a clear path to that end, there always seemed to be something that I needed to do first.
For instance, I needed to go to college. No one in my family had ever been, and I needed to change that, so I went to Minnesota, where no one knew me and where Winter used icicles to hug tree branches, like an older brother throwing his arm across his younger sister’s shoulder.
I was a sophomore the year I was called into Harriet Sheridan’s office, once the Dean of Students, and on that day, the interim Dean of the College.
She was sitting behind a big desk, she smiled politely and gestured for me to take a seat. After some general niceties, she asked me what I wanted to get out of college. And I replied matter of fact, a degree. She chuckled and said that she had been reading some of my college papers. I must’ve looked worried, because she then opened a folder and said they were quite good.
From where I was sitting, I could see comments written in red ink along the paper’s border. She asked me the same question , differently. “What do you want to be?”
Excitedly, I told her I wanted to become a writer. Then you must leave college she said. I was devastated, what kind of advice is that to give to a college student?
I fought back tears. She explained that I had real talent, and that if I stayed, the talent I was showing would be stifled. That there was different ways of writing, and that my writing talent couldn’t be taught at a school and that college isn’t for everyone.
Years later, I found out that she became a very important professor at Brown University, she even has a building named after her, I might have to get one named after me too 😉
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