When I was 21

At my friend's wedding, 2007.

At my friend’s wedding, 2007.

Continuing with the August Blog-A-Day Challenge, today’s post is all about when I was twenty-one, which mostly fell upon 2007. It was a bittersweet year, one which made me question so much. I questioned my views on relationships, and even my love of history was put in jeopardy.

I was in my first year at university, the third year of working towards my Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 16.06.05Bachelor’s degrees and I drove over one hour every morning to the main campus in Orlando from Rockledge. I generally left my home at 5am to get to my 7am class, there until 2:30, then I would drive back for a quick dinner then to my evening job as a receptionist/secretary at the local nursing home from 5pm-8:30. I would work weekends as well from 7:30am-6:00pm.

As you learned from my previous posts this week, I had this huge desire to become a historian. I was trying to focus my attentions on the Early Modern era, and so one of the courses I took was on Early Modern Irish History. I remember the prof was a super radical, ultra-left-wing person who had no time for other views. This prof hated my research of “The Ulster Uprising of 1641” and he wrote loads of rubbish all over my reports with his pen like “NO!!!!!!”. He made lots of us very uncomfortable in class, and I cried at least twice in class because he would say the most horrible things (classic sayings were: “You’re all stupid!” “You have a mind like a sieve”, etc). It was a truly hellish semester, and despite working hours every night on my assignments, he thought fit to bestow me with a D! ME, a straight-A student, a D in history! I was livid.

From the university catalogue shoot.

From the university catalogue shoot.

He was only a visiting professor, so many decided to complain about him to the head of the department. What happened? He was promoted into a tenured position! My classmate and friend, Vicky, and I still think about this time, but at least now we laugh and joke about how bad that professor was! Funny thing is one day I probably will continue my research about the Ulster Uprising of 1641, and he might just like it, in spite of himself 😉
Lesson learned: Ignore the embittered old man with the acid tongue, and withdraw from the course. A “W” is better than a “D”. Some people cannot keep their political views out of their work, and that’s unfortunate.

I personally have never taken drugs, been drunk, or smoked a cigarette, it’s just not my thing. I, however, formed an odd relationship with a very muddled fellow student who did take drugs and I naively thought it wasn’t going to be a problem. I thought, “Oh, I’m probably too strict with my views,” etc, but I should have stayed true to my values because it did become a problem.
Lesson learned: if you have a gut feeling the relationship is not good, get out before you get hurt.

By summer 2007, I thought I had enough of relationships and so I went through a phase of looking up groups that I was interested in, which at the time, was science and evolution, and I started contributing on Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 16.13.12various Facebook groups. By chance, Gavin (my now husband) saw what I had written and it moved him enough to send me a private message. We ended up getting to know each other pretty well, and one year later we got engaged, a year after that, married. He’s my best male friend, so it’s pretty good. 🙂 Thanks, Facebook! :p
Lesson learned: Just be yourself, and you’ll meet someone who genuinely does want to be with you. 

I learned a huge amount about life and myself when I was twenty-one. Yes, I would change some things if I could do it again, but it all served to give me more experience, what was certainly positive.

Find out more about the August Blog a Day Challenge at http://nataliegrueninger.com/2013/07/30/a-challenge-blog-each-day-in-august/

Hear ye! One thought — so far — on “When I was 21”:

  1. deliahugel

    All in all, not a bad year. Three valuable lessons learned, a best friend who happens to be also your husband and a commitment to write about the Ulster Uprising. I’d say, not a bad year.


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