A clarification about my education

Some people have, in the past and recently, written me asking me just what I meant when I said, on Charley’s “About Meaghan” page, that I graduated from high school without having taken a single class there. Some people are under the impression that I got a GED or something. But it’s actually a lot more complicated than that.

I grew up attending a third-rate rural school that wasn’t even attached to a particular town; it just absorbed students from various tiny towns in the county. By eighth grade I had developed serious academic and social problems. I was bullied a lot by other kids and by one teacher in particular, who if you ask me should never have been allowed to teach. I recall that he once flew into a rage during class and screamed obscenities at another student before chucking her out. The bullying from kids was very unpleasant and relentless, and I simply had no idea how to fight back. I still don’t. Anyway, by the end of eighth grade I was flunking all my classes and coming home crying every second day. I made it clear that I was not going to go back to school after the summer vacation and my parents were like, “Okay.” In retrospect, dropping out was the best on a list of bad options.

I spent a year moping around the house saying very little to anyone except Robert Cormier, to whom I confided a great deal (rather more than I should have). Then Dad got the bright idea to have me start auditing classes at the Ohio State University’s Lima campus where he works. This was reasonably successful. I was, at least, getting intellectual stimulation, I performed reasonably well in my classes, the other students mostly regarded me as a curiosity and nobody bothered me. I met Michael while we both were attending classes there. (We were in a class together and got into an argument before class started, about the death penalty I think, and he decided I was a smart person worth getting to know. I decided he was a jerk and I was never going to speak to him again. The rest is history.)

When I was sixteen, before what would have been my senior year in high school, Dad got an even more brilliant idea: I would re-enroll at the aforementioned third-rate school district. Then I would immediately enroll in their Academy Program, where you could take college classes for both high school and college credit at OSU-Lima, and the school district would pay for your tuition and books. This had never been done before, I think in the entire state of Ohio, I mean a homeschooled student enrolling in the Academy Program. And it was never done again, at least not at my district: after I did it they changed the rules so students had to be enrolled for a minimum of one year before they could sign up for the Academy Program.

So I spent my last year of “high school” doing much the same thing as before, except that now I had an actual GPA. I was anxious to get the heck out of dodge though, and applied at four different colleges, three of which accepted me. The closest one was three hours away. At the end of the academic year my parents more or less forced me to attend my high school graduation ceremony. They wanted to see their daughter walk down the aisle; I wanted nothing to do with it. They won; I went.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I was able to graduate high school without having taken any classes there.

Like I said, it’s complicated.

11 thoughts on “A clarification about my education

  1. Mary Carney March 30, 2015 / 10:41 am

    GREAT story! And kudos to your parents.

  2. Joseph Tesoriero March 30, 2015 / 11:50 am

    Even better you majored in history in college. The history majors are the great story tellers as it shows in this website

  3. NH March 30, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    I wish that bullying was not a reality. There are more efforts to stop it now but I still hear about recent incidents which leave last scars.

    I am sorry that this happened to you maybe sharing can help others as well as yourself.

  4. CaptK March 30, 2015 / 4:14 pm

    Are you referring to Robert Cormier the novelist?

    • Meaghan March 30, 2015 / 4:37 pm

      I am. He was a dear man, and the only responsible adult in my life at the time.

      • CaptK March 30, 2015 / 8:00 pm

        I really admire his work, both his novels and journalism. When I was a reporter for a small newspaper many years ago, he was one of writers I really looked up to and tried to learn from.

      • Meaghan March 30, 2015 / 8:36 pm

        His biographer and I are very good friends. He had actually told her about me and how he was terribly worried about me at the time. He gave very serious thought to contacting my parents and telling them the stuff I had told him, but decided not to, presumably because it would have ruined our relationship. (And nothing would have come of it, but he didn’t know that. My parents were, by that time, not being parents. They were basically adults who happened to live in my house.)

    • Meaghan March 30, 2015 / 5:10 pm

      My god, what a horrible experience that poor woman had.

  5. Brian Lockett March 30, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    That’s even more all-over-the-place than my educational experience.

    I made “OK” grades in my small-town/rural HS. Except for my Junior year. That’s when I was 16 and things weren’t as “check your ID and every movement” as there are today and realized I could leave in the morning and didn’t “have” to go to school. I had doctors excuses but let’s not get into that…
    I could take tests like a whiz, but wasn’t fond of the whole “going to class” part.

    I did well my Senior year and started my Freshman year at Bellarmine. I had a bad wreck around Halloween that year and got a bad head injury. I was drunk (off tequila, not my favorite at all) but not driving terribly (from what I’ve heard). The “other guy” basically mowed down my Mitsubishi Galant in a Blazer or Explorer going 75-MPH on a 35-MPH road.

    All of the head injury “rehab” I went to made me believe I was going to be “retarded” and I knew that wasn’t the case. But I couldn’t handle all of it at once. I went back with enough classes to be considered “full time” and soon had a spaz attack.

    I took it slower and wound up with a degree (“Liberal Studies,” whatever that means) but at least it’s from a nice school. All I really learned skill-wise is that I can write a hell of a paper, spell good, spend very good and smoke.

  6. Becky March 31, 2015 / 12:29 am

    It’s so weird how much we have in common. I usually just tell people I skipped high school and went straight to college then change the subject to avoid a long, complicated story. Maybe the things we went through in school partially explains why we care so much about missing and lost people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s