Have you ever gotten a compliment that you’re not exactly sure how to take? On one hand, you know that the giver of the compliment meant it as a positive thing, but at the same time there’s a sting to it. Maybe it’s about your occupation: “Wow, you’re really not boring, for an accountant!” or “You’re really nice and honest, considering you’re a lawyer!” Well for me, that thing is….
Homeschooling. I was homeschooled.
Today at work, I was having a conversation with co-worker #1, about college professors and courses. I was telling a story about a course I took my first semester of college, and happened to mention that I had been homeschooled until that point. Cue co-worker #2, who I’ve worked with for about 8 ½ months: “Wait you were homeschooled?!” Me: “Yep, my entire life until college.” Co-worker #2: “Wow! I never knew that. You’re the most normal homeschooler I’ve ever met!” Co-worker #1: “Yeah, you are!”
……….Thank you? I mean, this is a good thing, right? That’s a compliment? Literally every time this happens (which, by the way, is more often than I can count), I end up stammering something about how I was well-socialized and handing them my extra-curricular resume from my elementary, middle school, and high school career. How are you supposed to respond to someone basically saying, “You’re pretty normal, considering you’re so weird”?!
Directly after this dialogue, one of them proceeded to talk about the other homeschoolers, the ones that include everyone else except me, of course, because I’m normal, oddly enough. (Although I guess she didn’t really say I’m normal… just the most normal.) These other homeschoolers are either socially inept or academically stunted. Don’t mind me, I’ll just stand here awkwardly. Feel free to check out my resume again.
Without fail, people ask me if making the transition to “normalcy” was difficult. If classes and homework and professors took a lot of adjusting. Actually, before I started my first classes, I had a couple of family members tell me that “It was going to take some adjusting… it might be hard to get used to… taking notes and learning in a classroom setting is something you’re not accustomed to.” (And let me add here that this was seldom accompanied by a “but you can do it!” speech.) So was I scared to go to college?
Duh. Aren’t the majority of college freshmen trembling as they walk to their first classes? Doesn’t college catch most new students off guard? I have met many “normal” people, who had attended public or private school their entire lives, who were terrified on their first day or made comments partway through their first year saying, “high school did not prepare me for this.” So, yes, I was scared. But wanna know something? I made it through that first semester with four A’s, an A-, and (believe it or not) even friends. Even though I was homeschooled.
I don’t like to talk about this much because it’s awkward to talk about your own accomplishments, but in my college career I, among other things:
- Transferred my sophomore year to a college that was 500+ miles away from home
- Made so many priceless friendships
- Was asked to compete in a 2-day business competition—on a team with 3 people from 3 other schools whom I’d never met—and was on the winning team
- Had 2 internships: one of which meant that I was a co-manager of my own on-campus business with another student, and we had to learn how to do everything ourselves—bookkeeping, hiring, payroll, purchasing, marketing, and so on
- Was asked to carry the banner for my division in the opening ceremony in my senior year
- Struggled through classes I hated, and classes I “didn’t get”
- Had many late-night study sessions with my fellow accounting students with work that we thought would never end
- Graduated with highest honors, Summa Cum Laude
And so, dear co-worker #2, yes. I won’t deny that I’m “normal”. But I won’t deny the weirdness either. I suppose we all need a little weirdness along with our normalcy to make us who we are.
Also, I did schoolwork in my pajamas, slept as late as possible, and procrastinated as long as I possibly could for certain assignments. If that doesn’t prepare you for college, I don’t know what will.