When I was 17: Ms. Grant

Set the scene:

I grew up in southeastern Massachusetts, about an hour south of Boston. I went to a huge public high school. We had about 2500 students. It was urban and a bit underfunded. So we started with about 1000 students in my freshman class, and we graduated with 525. About 25% of us went to college. It was very different from Thacher.


Sports and extracurricular activities:

Soccer was my thing, so I played that all four years. I played basketball in middle school, and I did that in high school. It was a big high school, so the teams were really good. I didn’t end up getting much playing time. I was more of a practice scrub for basketball.

I didn’t enjoy any of the sports in the spring. My freshman year I did softball because my friends were doing it, but I thought it was boring. I did track my sophomore year, and again, I thought that was boring. So junior and senior year I didn’t do anything in the spring.

I was in the art club, but we never actually met. We didn’t really have clubs. It was a public school, so at the end of the day, everyone just went home. We didn’t have time dedicated to clubs during the school day. I was in National Honors Society, so I did some volunteering and stuff.


Did you ever imagine yourself as a teacher? / Were you ever into sciences?

Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to study science. I thought I wanted to go into forestry management and work for the national park systems. I just wanted to be outside and do applied-research science with life science, and then with ecology. But then I went to college, and things changed. Both my parents were teachers, so I never really imagined myself as a teacher until I got to college where I had the opportunity to teach as a lab assistant.


First kiss/love:

My first kiss was in middle school, so I don’t know if that counts. I did have a boyfriend during my senior year, who was great. In retrospect, I’m like eh. It felt serious at the time, but it was just high school.



Looking back at my experience, I was always pretty serious about things. In a lot of moments, I thought if I didn’t get this right, then the moment would pass and it would never happen again, so I had to try to get it right the first time. Everything felt super high stakes and part of it was because of where I was from. I saw the reality of my high school experience. There were people who make mistakes or didn’t take advantage of things, so they ended up in really bad lifelong scenarios. I just felt as if I couldn’t make mistakes and I had to make the most of every opportunity because they were rare. And because of all of that, I didn’t necessarily enjoy things. I was just too afraid that something bad would happen.


Anything else:

I was looking back in my yearbook. I still feel like I was the same person as I was when I was 17, just older. We would get yearbooks and everybody would sign them. Everyone talked about how nice I was, like “you’re the nicest person!”. But I always thought of myself as being super grumpy. I just think it’s interesting to see things from a different perspective.

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