I was sitting at the kitchen table when my flip-phone started buzzing. I reached for my very own, new cell-phone to see that my oldest sister was calling and answered.
Jessica: “What are you up to?”
Me: “I am doing some homework for language arts. Today, we learned how to diagram sentences.”
Jessica: “Oh how awful – I’m so sorry.”
Me: “Why? I am having fun.”
This conversation from 2008 is similar to conversations I have with people about work and school often. People regularly react negatively to things I will do in my field – like writing, interviewing, proofreading and strategy planning – which I struggle to understand because I genuinely have fun doing most of the things I am expected to do for school or work.
Learning how to diagram sentences exposed me to the technical side of the English language, but I was having too much fun to know it. I was too busy winning sentence-diagramming races in class to realize that I was building a foundational interest in language.
The rush from winning a sentence-diagramming race faded and instead was replaced with the rush of writing. As I entered high school, I began writing research papers and literature analysis papers. I still remember research paper topics from high school vividly because crafting those papers to reveal the interesting insights I had learned always gave me a natural rush of endorphins. Again, many of my friends would grudge over their papers, and my family would look at me in confusion as I wrote a paper with a smile on my face. Nonetheless, I fed my passion further by applying to Marquette’s College of Communication.
That smile and my passion grew even brighter as I was introduced to my first AP Style book my sophomore year of college. There was a book that broke down language; there was a book that helped me write better. My smile, again, drew confusion from my peers and roommates. Even still, to this day, I love flipping through my AP Style book to make my writing better.
When I was in sixth grade, and even in high school, I didn’t know that I would want to be a writer of some kind when I grew up. However, those fundamental years helped me discover my passions.
I am glad I am a little bit nerdy – a little bit different. Since I was okay with liking and disliking different things than my peers, I will never have to work a day in my life.”