Brentwood Darlington Apothecary

Citizen Storyteller: Education Prompt

Hi Friends!

I know it’s been a while, and this post is going to be a little different that my previous posts.  The background behind this post is a big part of the reason I haven’t posted anything in the past few months.  I’ve decided that the crisis in our democracy at this moment is more important than my herbal education.  I am still learning, and I will try to post a little more about what I’ve been up to, but this post is specific to a challenge I’ve been given:

I have been challenged to participate in telling my stories to help engage others into participating in the democratic process and our upcoming midterm elections. This will be the fourth week I’ve participated, but I knew this story was going to be long enough that I thought it deserved it’s own blog post.  And I’ve missed you!

If you would like to participate, the good news is that it’s easy and fun to join the #CitizenStoryteller Challenge. Sign up for the Midterm Squad Newsletter and you’ll receive a weekly prompt, then you choose how you want to participate. It could be a Facebook post, a conversation with a neighbor, or a phone call to a friend.  Sign up here: 

Citizen Storyteller

This week’s prompt:

It seems that everywhere we turn, one of our kids is graduating, whether from college, high school or even kindergarten. Education is an important part of a thriving democracy. We’d like to hear a story about what getting an education has meant for your life.

I have always liked learning new things, but I didn’t love school. After failing pretty much my entire sophomore year of high school, (except theater and English) I transferred to an Independent study high school where I could take classes at the community college and go at my own pace. Because of this, I ended up graduating a semester early.

I continued classes at CCSF (Community College of San Francisco), moved out of my parents house, and got a full time job. In the evenings, I worked in the theater. I couldn’t continue all three things, so I dropped out of school. The year I turned 24 was the year that I realized I was a terrible actress and was doing more back stage work than acting. I didn’t love it, and it made me resent the actors, so I stopped that as well.

It took me a couple more years to go back to school. I had injured my back and couldn’t physically do the barista job I was doing. My experience with my physical therapist was fantastic, and thought, “Hey, maybe I could do that!”

I met with a counselor at CCSF and told him my plan. Because I had squeaked out of high school with the bare minimum, I had to take a lot of high school level science and math classes to start out. I always thought I was weak in science and math, but came to realize that not only was I good at it, but I enjoyed it.  I became a chemistry major and eventually transferred to and graduated from UC Berkeley.  (If you want to read more about that, and about my dream of being a doctor, read my first blog post: Getting Started

Even though med school didn’t work out for me, nor did my stint in grad school, I could not be more thankful for my time at both CCSF and UC Berkeley.  Not only did I learn a lot of “facts,” but I also learned how to question information and really hone my critical thinking skills.  To me, my education equals freedom.

This doesn’t mean you have to go to a university to get an education, but it does make it a whole lot easier.  It’s easier to have people you trust curate the information you are absorbing.  But even then, it’s good to question it. My wish for this country is that anyone who wanted an education was able to get it.  I don’t think that’s the case right now, unfortunately.  Clearly, my path to a conventional education, was pretty unconventional. But I wouldn’t change it.  Except maybe to not still be in debt for it.

I still love learning new things. Right now I feel like I am getting an education in our political system and that’s pretty cool.

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