Despite my conversation with Bret, I didn’t do anything too immediate about getting to a gay students’ meeting. In fact, I didn’t go until just last week. I’ve been worried that someone might find out that I had been and I would have to justify myself. With Aaron and his friends, I could be honest about myself because he’d already done the hard work of convincing them that being gay was O.K., but from the talk I hear every day in the dining hall, it’s obvious that most of my classmates have never gotten to know anybody like Aaron.
I haven’t let myself dwell too much on anxieties though. Instead, I’ve focused on getting my academic career off on a sound footing. In high school, I shone at languages, so it makes sense to continue in that direction. I’m taking intermediate French—my best language, which I expect to major in—and also a Spanish class for “advanced beginners.” I’m thinking that with enough facility and background under my belt I can later get an Education masters degree and become a high school language teacher. If something more rewarding doesn’t turn up.
As far as satisfying the breadth requirement, my freshman advisor encouraged me to check out as many classes as possible in the first week.
“Don’t get too practical right away,” she told me. “Branch out and see what intrigues you. Take risks. Later on when you know more, you can think about how you might apply it in earning a living.”
I’ve ended up with a lecture class on “Inferential Math”—it means statistics—and a social science course called “Futurology.” The professor who teaches Futurology has a very matter-of-fact, humorous way of speaking that reassures me. Her first lecture consisted of a series of historical examples of expert predictions about the future, all of which have proven spectacularly wrong. That introduction has allowed me to hope that she won’t grade our papers too harshly even if she disagrees with our predictions and reasoning. Why would she expect us to do better than the distinguished scientists and political leaders she has told us about?
Since these decisions are settled, I’ve felt surprisingly excited about college. It obviously suits me a lot better than high school. I’ve decided to go a little slower on the boyfriend hunt. Meeting Aaron and his friends, and even Dale, made me remember how complicated people are. You can’t expect to figure them out right away. It takes a lot of patience. I always want to plunge in headfirst, but lately I think I shouldn’t show too much of myself until I’ve gotten the lay of the land.