Why I Am Proud of Myself: Philosophical Perspective’s Thoughts
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Philosophical Perspectives” is the author’s chosen pseudonym.
This is why I’m proud of myself.
This is not an article with arguments or nuanced thoughts, this is a declaration, for those of us who have survived.
I’m 27 years old, and I am so proud of myself.
My mom taught me to read when I was 5, and after that, I was mostly on my own. Yes, she sought out volunteer experiences and free homeschool clubs for academic enrichment, but I had no formal education until college.
I grew up in a home where neglect was the norm. My dad left for work in the morning, and my mom didn’t get out of bed until noon. As the oldest of three, it was my job to cook and clean, and make sure my siblings were “doing their school.” What ability an eight year old has to make a 2 and 5 year old sit down and plow through math textbooks, I’ll never know.
My youngest sibling’s only memory of learning anything in his childhood was me, age 10, teaching him to read.
So, I’m proud of myself, because I was a voracious reader with a huge imagination and an incredible thirst for knowledge. I taught myself history, language arts, math, and science by sitting down and reading text books.
I was my own guidance counselor. As high school loomed, I knew I wanted to go to a “good college”. So I read all of the rankings, and I figured out what I needed to learn to get where I wanted to go. I mapped out my four years of high school, asking my parents to enroll me in extension programs, community college, and co-ops. I figured out how homework worked, how to take tests, and how to build relationships with teachers so they would write me letters of recommendation. I made sure I took math and science, because I couldn’t get those at home or through debate. I wrote tons of essays, so that I could write good applications for college. I worked 10 hours a week running a piano studio, so I could have my own spending money. I competed in the NCFCA, and won. A lot.
I’m proud of myself, because I worked my ass off in high school, doing so much more than any of my peers. I had to figure out the system on my own, with no guidance or advice.
I’m proud of myself, because I had the drive and forethought and organization at seventeen, to call every university I wanted to apply to and ask their admissions counselors what extra information they would want, because I was homeschooled (and remember, this was 10 years ago, before homeschoolers in college was commonplace). I put together compelling and interesting application essays. I figured out how to communicate the value of my education, by writing my own transcript and calculating my own GPA. I had something like 10,000 volunteer hours by the time I graduated (for which I give my mom much credit). I applied for a won extremely prestigious scholarships, landing me in the top .01% of graduating high school seniors in the country, and beating out peers from prep schools who had parents, teachers, principals, and advisors prepping and nurturing them. I only had myself.
I got into a top five university, from which I earned a BA and MA in four years, and graduated with honors. I paid my way through college with no financial support from my parents. I now work for a nationally recognized organization, and am leading in their cross-cultural outreach.
I am so damn proud of myself.
Because, despite what the news articles would have you believe, I have not been successful because of my (lack of) education. I am thriving despite my homeschool experience. I have been successful because I have overcome every obstacle thrown in my path. I been smarter and worked harder than the vast majority of my non-homeschooled peers. I am tough, I am resilient, and I have already accomplished so much.
So yes, as I read and write and recall all of the bullshit I’ve lived through and coped with, I need to remember every once in awhile that I am overcoming it, and that is amazing.
I am not a homeschool success story. I’m my own success story.
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