I was, in fact, a mediocre student. I didn’t mind my grades, or my experience, but I remember that I absolutely hated the reviews that routinely told me that I had potential I wasn’t living up to.
I can recall a very specific event in my high school career when I realized that I simply didn’t learn the same way other people did. Of course, I couldn’t explain that at the time, and I was too young to understand that learning, in a school setting, has to be done one way, and one way only (even in the posh private girls’ prep school I attended). The fact was, though, that I instinctively knew there was a better way for me than the one I’d been experiencing for nearly 12 years–why didn’t anyone else?
I thought, for sure, I would find "the better way" in college. I suspected that there, where my focus on any one subject would last only a single semester before I could change and focus on something else, would be where I would really be able to shine. And things were better for me there, but still” something was off about learning there for me, as well.
It wasn’t until I was set loose upon the "real" world that I can say I actually began to thrive as a learner. Why? Because I was free to do things that felt right to me, free to learn about my own interests rather than those that had been thrust upon me, free to follow my own path, hunting down my own leads. Mostly, I was free to stop when I felt I’d had enough.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m absolutely grateful for everything that was rammed down my silly little throat as a child. I wouldn’t be who I am today without having gotten that foundation. But wow”what joy I experienced when free to learn in a way that actually felt good to me!