Personal – Back to School

Me as Tranio (on the right) in "Taming of the Shrew"
Me as Tranio (on the right) in “Taming of the Shrew”

September // Back to School: Back when you were in grade school, what were your favorite and least favorite subjects and why?  Did you become what you dreamed you would be when you grew up?  Or did your interests completely change?

Being a kid with a wide variety of interests is hard.  It’s hard to be the best at any one particular thing when everything interests you and you’re not stellar at any of it, but pretty good at it all.

shel-silverstein-poem

I love love loved my English classes in Elementary School.  During the 4th grade we started learning about poetry, and I remember having to memorize various poems for class.  Robert Frost was my favorite that we did as a lesson, but Shel Silverstein will always hold a place in my heart, particularly the one pictured above, which I can still recite to this day because my mother would make me do it as a teenager when I did have to help her dry the dishes.  And while I knew about Shakespeare before our sixth-grade production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” (see above) little did I know I would become a lifelong admirer of the Bard.

Accused witch, in the center!
Accused witch, in the center!

I adored history.  Sixth grade was my favorite year for that particular subject.  In the fall I competed in National History Day as part of a group performance about the Salem Witch Trials (surprise – I played the witch), and we made it all the way to States, but came in 4th.  And in the spring, my class did a Civil War simulation where I got to be the General for the Union, but managed to lose the war for us because I put too much trust in a friend who turned out to be a spy for the Confederacy!  And then our class trip at the end of the year was to Philadelphia, where we saw Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  Pretty cool.

I had some terrific science classes over the years, with the Voyage of the Mimi (and corresponding lesson books) in 5th grade, and two memorable sections in 6th grade about mealworms (and the life cycle of insects), and one about space and the solar system that involved using a computer program to explore where a missing spaceship might be.

Chess nerds!  I'm in the white turtleneck.
Chess nerds! I’m in the white turtleneck.

I wasn’t the best at math, but I never really remember being terrible at it.  Though my teacher gave us new ways to think about math, and one year that meant chess, which I liked despite being terrible at.  Here’s me and some friends at a Chess Tournament in DC, where I got some sort of pitiful “You tried!” medal, which I knew even back then was not something to be proud of.  But it didn’t stop me from enjoying the game and the ideas of it.

The same kind of thing could be said about art class, and PE.  I was never great, but there were things I picked up and carry through to this day that I learned in school.  I loved music with a passion so that class was always a joy, and I still take joy in the opportunity to sing at church whenever I can.

Thinking back specifically, I just have so many wonderful memories of all kinds of different things.  Doing current events pieces.  Using the internet early on to correspond with pen pals around the world.  Creating polls and graphics.  Talking about elections.  Growing seeds into plants.  Doing a class project called “Cigarette on Trial” where I was one of the defendents -Ciggy – and had to build myself a cigarette costume.  I can’t even imagine that happening today.

I don’t think I ever had a particular career ambition when I was that young.  Texting my mom and asking her the same question didn’t yield much in the way of answers.  Her only recollection was of my high school ambition to be an ophthalmologist, which was around the same time I was also considering becoming an actress.  So what does a girl who likes school, who is interested in the whole world (especially books and research ) do?  It turns out she becomes a librarian.  Because the world is full of interesting subjects to explore.

Details: This post is part of Project Reverb 2016, which sends out monthly (and sometimes daily during a month-long challenge) writing prompts for bloggers.  If you’re interested in participating, sign up here.

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