Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
The college years. Now, I know what sorts of things can go on in college, mind you. I’m not as naive as all that. But me? I never really cared about doing that or being part of that scene. It, well, frankly seemed like a giant waste of time. Still, going from the tiny bubble of high school, the prospect of a giant campus, thousands of students (would they stare at me as if I’d just left the circus troupe?) and doing it all myself (it would be the first time since kindergarten that I didn’t have an individual aide with me) terrified me. I know I came home at least a few days crying and saying I wasn’t cut out for college. Honestly, I felt like an even smaller fish in an even larger pond. Did I belong? Heck, college life didn’t seem at all like they portrayed it on Dawson’s Creek or even on Saved By The Bell: The College Years. Where was my Zack Morris and my student lounge hangout?
Anyway, as I’m writing this now back in 2009, I’m slowly realizing that college was the first time in my life that I’d wish I’d known you. Midway through my sophomore year, my father father committed suicide in 2003. Just as I was growing up, I suddenly felt like such a little girl again. I was so alone. My father had left his family, abandoned us. It pained me to realize that he, of all people, was so proud of my college success (he’d sit down and meticulously read everything I wrote), and he would never see me graduate. But I had to go on. I suppose I had no choice. I’m not sure how I managed to study – let alone graduate – with his death overshadowing me entire life (an adrenaline rush maybe), but I so wish you could have been around then. If only to hold me and tell me everything would be alright at a time when nothing seemed right at all. It’s strange somewhat in that way, isn’t it? To miss someone you’ve never even met?
But, as I always do, I stuck with it – OK, with a little (maybe a lot) of prodding and support from my mom, especially after my father’s death) – and by my junior year, I eventually had found my stride. I’m not quite sure where it came from, but I gained a sort of confidence I’d never felt before. True, I was still that awkward, shy girl who doesn’t always say the right things at the right time (am I still that way, Sweetpea?), but I suppose I’d come to embrace that. I had become part of my identity, and frankly, I was starting to love this side of me.
It also didn’t hurt that I’d continued to fall in love with journalism while working on my college’s newspaper. I started out as a columnist, moved to copy editor and by my senior year was a full-on, hard-hitting reporter. Oh my, being in the newsroom was an intoxicating experience for me. I shined. I felt like Woodward and Bernstein. I spent my days interviewing administrators, faculty and students to get the stories that mattered. Did I mention that many of my stories (OK, I’m being too modest here – MOST) appeared on the front page? Multiple times per week?
How sexy is that? Go ahead, picture me in the newsroom, wearing my oversized specs, my hair all messed up and a pencil tucked behind my ear. It’s OK. It is sort of hot, actually.
So, what were you like in college? I’m assuming you went to college and graduated? Not to sound too elitist, but you know I like my men smart. But please don’t tell me you were one of those annoying hipsters who sat on a grassy knoll reading poetry and strumming his guitar. I’m not sure I could even handle that.
Oh, and did I mention that I graduated with a 3.93 GPA? Does that intimidate you or turn you on in a sexy, but not-until-we’re-married kind of way?
Until we meet…