Monday, November 14, 2005

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

My academic adventures have been long and hard (excuse the pun).

Since I can remember myself, I went to a high-class private school in Greece. Given that the only reason I was there was that my mother was head of its English department, and back then my family wasn't as well-off as it is now (my father is the "rags to riches"- "did it the hard way" type), it offered me quite a few challenges. I was quite a nerd as well, which didn't help either.
Still, it did offer me quite a high level of basic education, with "greek origins - european standards - worldwide objectives" (loosely quoted and translated), and quite strenuous "life experience" - I learned to try and find myself, despite the odds, and I got to learn "that other stuff", found within books and teachers.

Then I went on, as I was supposed to, reading Biochemistry in the uber-prestigious University of Edinburgh. And I liked the city, the theory and the title, so much more than I could ever like the course itself - given the "sheep-shepherding", long - boring - uninteresting - unrewarding laboratory activities. And I went through my version of hell, most of it self-inflicted. So I decided to spend 4 years of my life there. How smart of me.
And it was worth it. No, it didn't give me a piece of paper to hang on the wall; it offered me so much more instead. It gave me the scientific approach to my overly analytical, artistic way of thinking, it slapped upon me the life lessons that come with catering for oneself for four years, and, as my father said, it threw me in deep waters and taught me to swim.

And most of all, it showed me what I really want to do with my life after all. It sent me all the way from the Capital of the North to the Capital of the South. From the heat of scientific research to the bubbling of creative work. From a dead end to a long highway of possibility. And from a dry and miserable normality to a drowning-pool of potential.

And now I'm here, the last couple of days having overturned the remainder of my stone-set beliefs: I may end up back home, in Greece, after all, like an epic adventurer after a long life of quests, changing my nest to fit the world, just as the world changed me so I no longer fit in my nest.

I was just looking at my final-year-at-school's yearbook. The one with the 5-day trip I never went to, and the toga-wearing graduation ceremony I never showed up for, and the people I envied - of which the ones I've recently seen made me realise the truth in "Unpopular Then: Blooming Now" highschool reunion film plots. I saw myself, and - diets and clothing-style changes aside - I look so much better now. I held the photo next to the mirror, and I was proud. If I knew me back then, I'd fall in love with myself. I wouldn't now, evidently, but I've gone a long way since then. I'm a different person, with a lot left to do, and many more changes to wait and fight for still.

In the words of Mr. Frost, I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. The promises are mainly to myself, and the miles may be walked in a thousand different forests. Still, my walking boots are on, and their laces are tied. Are you ready, boots?

1 comment:

Ditikos Parakmiakos said...

It's always like this. Either you are in a high class highschool, or in a highschool in the mainland. I prefered living my highschool years as a "ghost"-like student. Never been the popular one and never minded.

Seeing how much goals I made so far and how that those regarded as "promising" from everyone back in highschool are now (most of them never left home actually), I am glad I haven't made much bad choices.

But alas, remember. As much as you keep on going further, there are also factors that tend to keep you back. Should you fall, you can ride again.