1983-1984: South Fork Elementary; Winston-Salem, NC. I went to kindergarten and part of first grade here when I was a tiny one, and there I didn't make friends easily but did well in school. Instead of attending their reading group (since I could already read), the kindergarten teacher sent me to the computer lab with the fifth graders.
1984-1989: Winter Park Elementary; Wilmington, NC. Part-way through first grade my dad's job changed and we had to move to another city. There I got off to a rough start because the teacher thought I couldn't read (but really I just didn't know what to do with it when she asked me to read from a sheet with PHONICS MARKINGS, which I had never seen before; I thought it was too advanced and cried instead of trying). Eventually, though, they got me tested properly and I went straight into the gifted program, which was held at another school I got bused to sometimes. I took the advanced track where possible but didn't do very well with making friends with my peers. I started writing little short stories and poetry during this time.
1989-1993: McIntosh Middle; Sarasota, FL. Dad's job moved again and we ended up in Florida. The kids in Florida seemed more sophisticated, though maybe it was also because I was at a different grade level. Still didn't find a good social foothold and most of my friends were somewhat misfit themselves, and I joined the orchestra and learned violin. Except for math, I took advanced classes and was always on the honor roll, but this wasn't a happy time in my life at all.
1993-1994: Riverview High; Sarasota, FL. I moved on to high school and my social life revolved around being highly involved in the choral program, where I was reasonably well-liked (not to mention I excelled in singing). I still took advanced English classes, but most of my other classes were on-level at this point. Wrote my first book during this year. I only spent one year here because my dad's job moved AGAIN, and it was a bit devastating because in one year I had climbed the ladder in the choral program all the way to the top, only to have to start at the bottom again at my next school.
1994-1996: Chamberlain High; Tampa, FL. I spent the rest of my high school life in Tampa, heavily involved (again) with chorus and finally getting more solidly-based friendships with a group of people, most of whom I still am friends with in adulthood. I took advanced English, on-level math when I HAD to, and did some extracurricular activities related to science club, environmentalism club, and a service club. Started writing another novel during this year, and wrote a short story that was pretty good. I graduated high school with honors on June 6, 1996, with a GPA of 4.28, 87th out of my class of 518.
1996-2000: University of Florida; Gainesville, FL. Got a scholarship (Florida Academic Scholars), and took it to UF. I wanted to major in music, because I'd been really good in chorus all four years of high school (going to All-State Chorus and all that). So, I had an audition . . . and I got in. They said I wasn't good enough to be a performance major, so I chose music education as my major. I didn't really want to be a performance major, and I didn't really want to be an education major, but I wanted to be in music. I guess I just didn't realize at the time that music was something I liked to do, but wasn't something I wanted to do for a living. After a year and a half of being a music major, I quit. The best thing I got out of music ed was the music technology class . . . where I got my very first and only formal instruction on how to create a Web page.
Fall 1998, I changed my major to elementary education. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a teacher, but I decided to try it because the curriculum didn't look too tough and it seemed interesting, and didn't require too much math (I am horrid at math!). The problem with changing my major outside of the college of fine arts was that they take requirements for upper division differently; the music program had you taking general education courses all the way through until you're a senior, while the education college requires that you finish all of your general education courses before entering your junior year. Needless to say, I was behind on credits. I took five gen-ed courses in the spring 1998 semester, and then I took four gen-ed courses in the summer of that year. They still didn't accept me because I was missing a few credits, so I took the rest of them and then they let me in for spring 1999.
Education was a strange sort of major; there were very few guys and most of the girls were very . . . well, "teacherly." They were college girls and all, but they weren't really my type of people. It was hard to make friends there, so I really didn't make many. I took my somewhat hellish first semester of education courses, which included tutoring a disadvantaged child and taking the famous research methods class. Scary. I made it through with all A's (except one B+ in . . . get this . . . educational media!), and then I made it to second semester, where I took a slew of methods courses. That's where I met my friend Scott, fellow education major and freak. :) After that, well . . . I hit spring semester 2000, in which I had my undergraduate internship. That was some eye-opening stuff. I was more sure than ever that I *did not* want to be a teacher, even though I had a lot of fun teaching.
As an education major, I was allowed to pick an academic specialization and a professional specialization. I combined these and just got a specialization in psychology, which I completed. I know a lot about psych now; I've taken (besides general psychology) abnormal psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, child psychology, and psychology of aging. I also took a sociology course, several health courses, and an anthropology course. While I was in college, I wrote four more novels, completely unrelated of course to my schoolwork.
I graduated with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education, Summer A 2000, with a GPA of 3.56. Misleading, isn't it? Seeing as how I'm not a teacher. People hear, "OH, you were an education major--so what grade do you want to teach?" Noneeeeee! If I ever do use my degree (besides for, well, very expensive *toilet paper*), I may get into after-school instruction or creative workshops, or distance education, perhaps even education on computers. I enjoy working with kids but I have trouble controlling them because it's too hard for me to break away from trying to be their friends.
After graduation I spent six years working at a bookstore for very low pay, and the elementary education degree had me as a shoo-in for Kids' Department Head. I held that position until 2006, when I moved to Tampa, became an administrative assistant, and continued to stubbornly not use the degree. If you're interested in my career, check that out next.
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