I had this amazing education. Education in life and then education at college—which I had to decide I really wanted. I quit college and took time off and waited tables and was treated like a piece of meat. It was ok for a while and honestly, I thought I couldn’t do any better.

I thought I was stupid—even though I’d done well in high school without cracking a book. I thought I was stupid for getting myself into bad situations I couldn’t find my way out of. Many (or most), were not my fault, but the fault of bad people. Yet, I always blamed myself. “Why are you so stupid, Julie? Why would you go there? Why would you wear that? Why would you drink that? Didn’t you know what would happen?”

Education comes in many forms.

I quit college, moved to Roseville, then to St. Paul. I waited tables. It was a series of random acts of kindness that put me back in college.

There was a $100 tip from someone I didn’t know, that I didn’t give the best service to, that didn’t want to screw me. He didn’t wait around to see my reaction. But, he came back later and I was scared. I wondered what he wanted in return. He said, “I just felt like you’d been having a hard time and I wanted to help you out.”

That was it.

He didn’t want to bed me. He didn’t want me for a threesome with he and his wife. He just wanted to help.

Two men that I waited on frequently—one a contractor and one a real estate agent, wanted to pay for my real estate license classes and fees and hire me to work for them. They thought I was great with people and would do a great job. They took me out and wined and dined me and told me how smart I was and didn’t lay a hand on me.

I started to think….”maybe I could do something else.”

Then, I came back to Fargo for a visit and was in West Acres shopping for Christmas and my freshman English teacher saw me and recognized me. It had been 5 years since I’d had her class.

She asked what I was doing now and I told her. Then, she told me she’d hoped I’d go back to school because that was where I belonged. She’d remembered my papers she’d usually give me “C’s” on, but still remembered them, and that I liked writing.

I went back to school the following year.

I decided to major in mass communications. I thought what the world was lacking in, was great communication. That professor was also head of the fairly new women’s studies department, so I minored in women’s studies.

At that time, possibly because hazel ran it, women’s studies meant multicultural studies, extra humanities and history studies, literature studies.

I had amazing classes in subjects like African history, the economics of poverty and discrimination, and the sociology of gender.

Most of my mass comm classes were easy and boring, but damn, my minor studies opened my eyes to so many things.

So, what have I done with this amazing education?

Mostly nothing but write.

And get a job.

And write.

And wish everyone had the same education.

And not wish everyone had the same education.

And write.

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