At promptly 12:11 Monday afternoon, I finished my semester and I had never felt such an instant wave of exhaustion. I took the liberty of sleeping all afternoon because damn, I deserved a nap. Going to art school, final exams were close to non-existent. When I went to community college the next semester, final exams were equivalent to high school tests.This past semester, however, I was dually-enrolled between Louisiana State and Baton Rouge Community. I was a full-time student who started two days after the semester began, attending two schools, and working closing shifts three to four times a week. So, to bring it all home, I really deserved that nap.
While school proved to be difficult and stressed me out more than I would have liked it to, one amazing thing came out of this semester. As many of you now know, I am a Creative Writing major. At LSU, I took an Intro to Short Fiction class, where I met so many crazy talented writers, as well as was able to write my own short story and share it with everyone in this class and have it workshopped with my peers. I have to say, it was incredibly nerve-wracking. I didn’t know if people would like my story or if I was even good at writing.
Many times in my life, more often now, I have often wondered where my place was academically. Throughout childhood and being an angsty teenager, I was never really good at learning math or science or foreign languages. Those things were hard for me and they’re still hard for me. When I made the switch in high school from academic electives to artistic electives, I felt like I was in my element, like I was smart. People loved my photography, my art teachers actually pushed me to be my best and pushed me beyond limits I never knew I had. My math teachers, my science teachers, my foreign language teachers never did. I honestly have to say that even my English teachers never made an attempt to make me a better English student. So sitting in my short fiction class, as well as my poetry class, I felt behind because everyone was looking so deeply into our assigned stories and I was only able to read the stories on the surface. My classmates would be pointing out themes and metaphors and create these grand analysis’ from these stories. I could only find the emotions that I related to and talk about the images the stories created. However, as the semester went on, I found myself more comfortable in the environment of this class because I knew I was learning just by listening to my professor and peers talk about these stories. I know that I’ve learned more in this class than I did when I was in high school.
I remember in the seventh grade, my language arts teacher split the class into groups and we all had assigned books that our group had to read and present to the class. The high level book was A Wrinkle In Time and I requested to be in this group. Throughout my years in the school, I was never put in a position to read this book, or even read at a higher level. I knew I could do it and I wanted so badly for my teacher to put me in the high-level reading group. When I made this small request, I was denied. I wasn’t a bad student or a bad reader. This was a time in my life where I couldn’t stand up for myself and make my case, so I took no as an answer and let her put me in a lower reading group. I found myself thinking about this experience a lot this semester when I felt like I was incredibly behind in literature in my short fiction class. My academic teachers not believing in my abilities or believe that I can better my abilities is something that hindered my education growing up. I never wanted to better myself academically because my teachers never saw the potential of me bettering myself. I realize that this is a two-way street, but believe me, I tried hard, and I got help when I needed it. No teacher, however, made an effort to ask me if I needed help, if they could offer anything to make me a better student.
So you’re thinking, “But Sydney, how did you come to be a Creative Writing major when your teachers left you with such a bad experience?” Well, it’s really simple. I love telling stories and I love reading. In the past years, I shed my shell (if that’s a thing) and became an entirely new person. Creative Writing is an art and art has always been welcoming to me. I may not understand chemistry, geometry, political communications, or even how to form a sentence in French, but I can write a damn good story and be proud of it. And don’t you dare tell me I can’t make a living being a writer because I don’t care. It’s my life and if I ruin it by becoming a writer, at least I’ll be happy ruining it. I’ll probably even get a good story out of it.
SO, now to loop this all the way back around to the story I wrote this semester. My story became a lot more personal to me than I had ever thought it would. After submitting the final draft of it. I thought to myself I could just write a whole book of short stories just like this. I won’t reveal to you all what my story was about, but I will tell you that I might just be starting a book? I’m not too sure. The idea came to me the day after submitting my story and I was driving to work. It’s a little half-baked, but anything half-baked turns out amazing. Think half-baked cookies or half-baked brownies. Everyone loves a soft and chewy chocolate-chip cookie and don’t you dare lie about that. Like the title of this blog says, it’s almost a new year and I almost have a developed idea.