On 3 different occasions today, I was told, in some form or fashion, that I was being thought of as a gunner. Not the book-hiding, page-cutting kind, but basically still the nuisance kind. They were joking. They were nice boys. They had no malice behind it. But I still found it odd that in one day, 3 different men would josh with me about my work ethic. Each time, I took it no further than their statement and just changed the topic.
Someone who was with me when it happened asked me if it bothered me. I said yes and no. It doesn't bother me because I've heard worse about myself and came through very unscathed. It doesn't bother me because I can't do anything about it, so I let it go. What does bother me is that I feel it's a tiny logical leap from "she's always prepared" to "she's going to graduate when she's 40 so her life cannot possibly be like a 22-year-old."
I consider myself very lucky. I had a long time to prepare for this. I've had this in my conscious mind for years and it got to really gestate and take form with no competition for brain space. I asked my friend, who came straight from college to law school, if she had that luxury and she said no.
I am lucky because my husband has some practical experience in handling a partner in an intense academic situation.
I have always known I cannot bar-hop and drink till 2 in the morning, stumble home and try to brief cases. I knew I had no intention of giving up my sleep. I have a child who needs me and whom I need and spending a Saturday with him is the thing I look forward to the most. It's how I get through the week. I know I have to make up for that day somehow.
I also know I've done the scene. I have my legendary drunks, fucks and parties under my belt. And I also know that I was over it when I was over it and I knew, even then, I wasn't going back to that. I killed it and it was over. And it's not any different now than it was then. The drinks are the same, the dudes still lie and the parties should still be over long before the last lime leaves. Only condoms are more expensive.
I am not doing anything more than I am supposed to. I have no secret answers in my pocket. I read until I understand. I ask or email a Prof or a TA or a 2 or 3L if the work is getting the better of me. I'm assigned the same work as everyone else. I'm just operating with different motivation. I want this. I want my kids to be proud of me. I want them to see that they can change their minds, choose to be different, to see they aren't trapped by life. It's hard when it's hard, but sometimes you get opportunities. Mine is called John.
By the way, while writing this, 2 people came to ask me for help on an assignment. It was the same way at UWI. The same people who accused me of rubbish and talked behind my back used to come to me for help. I never said no or gave anyone halfway help, even though sometimes I wanted to. I thought I didn't know them in the same way I believed they didn't know me and it cost me nothing to say some words. I didn't get any less smart and explaining something always made me understand it better.
I'm not saying these 2 people fall into that category, but the irony is still inescapable to me.