Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Second Time Around: Columbia

Hooray to Heather for the paperback release of her debut novel, Never Cry Werewolf. Because this is her book's second time around in the publishing world, all week we're talking about things that we loved even more the second time we experienced them. (Heather's also giving away books, but more on that later.)

When I first left for college in New York City, I was a few days shy of my 18th birthday. At just 17 I was ready to take on the big apple, to get an Ivy League degree and forge a path into whatever future I desired. For a while everything was great. I had awesome friends my freshman year, I (mostly) loved my classes, and had wonderful experiences in the greatest city in the world.

A few months into my sophomore year, so much had changed. I had a single room and suddenly my friend all felt too far away. I took the first class in my architecture degree, and I hated it. And then, after a fateful trip to the Dartmouth campus--beautiful, perfect, picturesque Dartmouth--I suddenly felt trapped by the city. I wanted fresh air and escape and trees. Lots and lots of trees.

Shortly after that I withdrew from Columbia and eventually transfered to the University of Colorado at Boulder. Fast forward a couple of years, and I'm applying to graduate schools. The one that floats to the top of the pile is, once again, Columbia. (Partly because they were the only school that accepted me, but that's another matter.) Once again, I packed my bags and headed to New York.

This time, though, things were different. I would only be there for two years--just a semester longer than I'd lasted the first time. I was a bit older and far more experienced, especially socially. I was studying a very specific field that I loved. I could tailor my classwork to my personal preferences. I had a fair amount of free time to explore museums and attend shows, often as part of my thesis research. In short, it was a wonderful experience.

Not that I didn't love New York the first time, but I definitely learned to appreciate the city and what it has to offer even more. And I now consider New York to be one of my hometowns--along with Boulder and Houston, all the places where I made the most progress on becoming myself.

Your turn to share. Have you ever done something that started out great, went a little wrong along the way, but then wound up awesome in the end? (FYI, I feel that way every time I write a book!) Comment for your chance to win one of five (5) copies of Never Cry Werewolf that Heather is giving away this week.




nymfaux said...

Great post!!! I can definitely relate to love/hate the college experience. I definitely had a struggle, but am so glad I made it through!!!

As for the second time around, I think I'm going to go with a book. Somewhere around grade school (5th?) I watching tv, flipping channels and came across the Thorn Birds mini-series. I kind of had the feeling that I was not the intended audience group, but when I found out it was based on a book, I made my mom get it for me. I was so excited, but when I started reading it, it wasn't the same as how the movie was, I was confused and couldn't get into it, and never made it past the first couple chapters. Fast-forward to summer vacation before I started high school. Something made me pick it up again. But this time, I didn't put it down. This time it was AMAZING and everything I thought it would be, and MORE. The Thorn Birds has been a constant on my favorites list ever since, I still reread it often, and it still gets better and better.

Anonymous said...

Mine would have to be when I joined the Army right out of high school.

The first day there, we were unloaded from cattle trucks and made to stand outside in the scorching heat, holding all our equipment while the drill sergeants screamed in our faces.

I had a "What the heck was I thinking moment." Especially when one of the drill sergeants got in my face then proceeded to make me do push-ups until my arms wouldn't work anymore. He belittled my faith, my family, and it ticked me off.

So many visions of home and my family and friends flitted through my head. After hours of this, they finally had us file into our rooms.

But the second day (this is my second time around), our platoon was sat down by our specific drill sergeants. They told us the importance of team work and that they'd always stand up for us with the other drills as long as we were giving it our all. They told us that we succeeded only as a platoon, not as individuals. If someone in the platoon screwed up, we all screwed up.

We only had one incident where someone got in trouble and we all got smoked for it. After that, we knew the consequences of failure.

From that point on Basic Training was still hard, but if it hadn't been for the "second day" second chance around pep talk, I'm not so sure how I would've done.

Looking back now, it was one of my proudest moments (basic training) and being in the army.

Heather Davis said...

Wow, great post, Tina! You really have a great college story. I think I loved my school from the start, but it was so close to Seattle, I knew I could drive home in a couple of hours. ;)


Anonymous said...

Hmm. This is a bit difficult. I don't think I have. Well, there was a painting I did and while painting it I stopped. Studied it. And decided it was garbage and folded it in half and cramed it into my trash bin... I was 14, lol. Well the next day I was getting a hair tye that fell in the trash bin and for some reason decided to look at the painting again. I liked it. LOL. So I tried to smooth out the "broken" canvas the best I could and finsihed it. A lot of people liked it. Go figure.

{It's all I could think of.}

Steph said...

I took a Masters class in Hartford, Connecticut for my dance school. It wasn't required, but my dance teacher recommended it for me. I only knew two people who were in my age group that were taking the classes I was taking. Before I found this out, I was very nervous about who was going to be there, if I would be able to keep up, etc. I didn't take one of the classes that the other girls were taking, so I sat by myself for a while in between classes. When taking the jazz, I had a little bit of trouble getting the steps, but it went pretty well. In the ballet class I took, it was pretty difficult keeping up, but it was the same for everyone. by the second class, I was pretty comfortable being there with the girls I knew, and just taking the class in general. In the end, I was very happy that I took the class because it gave me more experience, and I knew what the Master classes for the Dance Masters of America was really like. I only took another Masters class once before, but it was in a dance studio attached to the instructors house with only one room and one instructor teaching a contemporary class. The instructor was great, along with the ones I had in Hartford, so I was glad I took all the classes. I would say that the second time I took a masters class, I was happier about taking it because I already had some background information, and no one else had the teachers before (well, at least if they were taught regularly).

Sorry if the order of everything is confusing, but I was just writing as I thought it, so I apologize. I can check back if you want me to clarify, not that it's a major deal.

brendajean said...

I got myself in over my head when I started coaching a jump team. In the beginning it was so fun, but then I realized how little I knew. I was able to get coached myself and learn so much it ended up being a blast!


msdarcy said...

I feel that way about piano lessons. I started strong, hated to practice, but ended up loving that I could actually play!!