Not One to Brag

Emotional vent blog, you’ve been warned.

I have never been one to brag about getting good grades or assessments as they were called in my high school. I have always however been an excellent student.

Growing up in a Montessori school, and then an essential school, we got personalized progress reports written by our teachers and mine never had anything bad to say about me. Maybe they wanted me to speak up more, but that is hardly negative.

My brother was always the smart one in my immediate family, he just got into Harvard Divinity School. And in my extended family, just to give you a taste, I have a cousin who is now a lawyer after going to Yale and Columbia, another cousin who just got her PhD and a tenure-track professorship as an earth scientist/geologist at a university. Another was named on the top 40 under 40 list of Denver a few years ago for her work at a university along with her husband. Then in the non-academic world another cousin who is a brilliant chef at a restaurant in Boston. These are just a few of my amazing family members :p

I have been quiet most of my life. I was the youngest so that didn’t help. My brother is 3 years older, the chef is 6 years older, geologist 8, lawyer 10, top 40 actually might be around 20 years older. It was very much the conversation of “you will know/understand when you are older.”

Anyway, with all that, I just sat back and coasted on cuteness. People savored it because they knew I would be the last until my cousins started having kids (the first of which have begun to pop out in the last 4 years or so). I was never smart or talented or even athletic compared to them.

I was average. What set me apart was my transition and hardship. My ability to survive that drastic change and crippling social anxiety that followed by being bullied in high school (see 13 reasons why blog post).

But here I am, exactly a month from now I will be getting my college degree, a BA in Sociology/Anthropology (SOAN) with a minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Not only that I have pursued excellence these last four years and my commitment has shown that.

Last week I was nominated to apply for some senior awards in SOAN and I didn’t really put much hope in every actually getting the awards, I don’t have a perfect GPA, and I have mostly only done academic work, not much community engagement or service or actual employment having to do with anything sociological.

Tonight I got an email saying I was unanimously selected by all in the department to receive the senior academic excellence award. They described my work as outstanding and they look forward to seeing what I do next. Now it is also very possible that I was the only one who actually applied, and if someone else did they may have won. It was a kind of obnoxious application.

See that is what I’m talking about. I don’t see what I do, or let myself feel the good things I do. I always think I can do more and be better, and while that is probably true that does not mean I cannot bask in my own glory every now and then, right?

I keep crying on and off, happy tears, of finally being recognized for all the hard work I have put into this degree (by someone other than my parents, because they kind of have to). I am really usually not one to brag, but this, this is something I am proud of and want to share.

Photo: Deep Pink. NC, Fall 2015.

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