Codename: Punk Rock Girl.
Mission: To earn a Masters degree at UNCW in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.
Reason: Well, let me tell ya'.
I grew up in the backwoods swamp of Florida. Seriously. No T.V. No internet. The closest thing we had to civilization was a gas station twenty miles away. I've been chased by alligators, and eaten my fair share as well. I was the first person in my family to graduate high school, and when Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina offered me a creative writing scholarship I jumped at the chance to go somewhere new.
I loved the college setting, but never really fit in. I never fit the “traditional student” mold. I had already been living on my own, while most freshmen couldn’t even do their own laundry. I was getting tattooed while the other kids in my class were getting checks from home. Still, I loved learning and was never satisfied with whatever was in front of me. I did everything I could to push the system. I was assigned a paper and would turn in a painting. I accompanied sculpture projects with poetry chapbooks. I officially majored in English, but took every art and art history class I could, never wanting to settle for the subscribed route. I made good grades and won creative writing awards, but was still labeled “most difficult student” by many professors. The day after graduation, I threw my two dogs in my car and headed east, to see what life after college was all about.
I wound up in Wilmington where, at 21, I did exactly what I wanted to: I ran around like crazy. I bartended, painted and wrote a novel. I made friends, broke hearts, had mine broken, and kept learning about life. I scratched my way up from arriving downtown with two dollars in the back pocket of my jeans, to feeling like I was finally growing up. So I finally decided what I wanted to do, and how to go about doing it.
I applied to the GLS program at UNCW because I want to teach. Sure, I could just do it the easy way and secure my teaching certificate and get to work on the eager young minds of tomorrow, but what am I going to teach them? To teach, I first have to learn. Anything and everything that I can. I want to teach high school students, and I want them to know that there is more to an academic future than SATs and Ivy League and becoming either a gangster or a doctor. I want my students to believe in the power of education, and I want to be authentic.
So I take classes like Punk Rock and Politics and Eugenics and the Holocaust. In this semester alone, I have researched white trash Virginians, fanzines, Punk art, and Boston hardcore gangs. I produced a final project that included nine political paintings. In what other program would I get to have this academic experience? Where else could I study such a broad range of interesting topics, create my own independent study and write a second novel for a final project? The GLS program is perfect for me, because it is just like me: academic, creative, open-minded and willing to take risks, in the name of life-long learning.
Last Update: July 21, 2008