In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell unveils the myriad of cataclysmic events that lead some people to become wildly successful and others to remain dismally mediocre.
One of many contributing factors is grooming. According to Gladwell, professional hockey players in Canada are groomed for success based on their age. Hockey divisions are determined by the calendar year of the child’s date of birth, therefore boys born in the earliest months of the year excel because they are quickly determined by coaches to be the most coordinated and the strongest among their peers at a time in human development when just a few months difference in age drastically affects the physical and mental abilities needed for athletic competition. Their advantage then leads to increased opportunities.
I was groomed to write.
It’s almost as if ink flows through my veins. My maternal grandfather was a printer. He operated presses at the Tulsa World before he opened his own print shop decades ago, which was a business he maintained until he retired. My paternal grandfather was a career Marine and wrote for Stars and Stripes. My father apprenticed with my maternal grandfather for a time, but moved on to other occupations.
Both of my parents are avid readers. My mother read to my sister and I in the womb. “Anything and everything she could get her hands on.” They had little expendable income and my father was always more willing to buy us books than toys. We spent as much time in the children’s section of Barnes and Noble over the years as most kids did at Toys ‘R Us. We didn’t have cable TV until we were teenagers and even then the rules were no TV until 7 p.m. We did a lot of reading and we were happy.
My teachers encouraged me over the years. My second grade teacher, Regina Harris, noticed I was reading at an advanced level and made an effort to challenge me with special reading assignments. A high school teacher of mine, Carol Simmons, said, “I had the heart of an English major” and challenged me (and all of her other students) to write well. Really, really well. I still have a poster of her made for our high school library’s “Get Caught Reading” campaign, which I had her autograph for me.
I was a section editor for the award-winning Sandite yearbook. I won an Oklahoma Interscholastic Press Association Award for yearbook copy, and I was chosen to write for the Tulsa World‘s Satellite Section.
I had to take some time off after my first semester at OSU to get my financial ducks in a row, but I’m back on track to graduate in 2011.
The journalism courses I have taken are Reporting and Internet Communications. This spring I am enrolled in Fundamentals of Audio Video Production, Photojournalism and Public Affairs Reporting.
This spring, I will be writing for the student newspaper at OSU, The O’Colly