A couple of nights ago a friend who has become more of an acquaintance asked me how I was doing and what I’ve been up to. While laughing, I mentioned that I’ve guest lectured at a couple of grad schools in the past year, despite having only an eighth grade education.
It hit me tonight why, despite having almost two years of college to my name, I still say I’m operating on an eighth grade education. It’s because finally, after all these years, I’m proud of myself. Really damn proud.
High school is supposed to prepare you for college. During college you’re meant to learn the skills you need to survive for the rest of your life. But I skipped all of that. I spent years being sick, then slowly started teaching myself how to live. I didn’t just survive — I’ve thrived.
I’ve managed to get where I am today on an eighth grade education. Statistically, I’m just about in the top percentile of beating the odds. I’m shocked, frankly. I never imagined living past the age of 30, yet here I am kicking 34’s ass. I might not have been able to teach myself a second language, or algebra, or any other number of skills, but I’m still the very definition of an autodidact. I taught myself how to thrive and I taught myself — finally, after some twenty odd years — how to be justifiably proud of myself. And with “only” an eighth grade education.