This goes under the "career paths" section of Spacefem's Entire Life Story.
Alright, in high school I wasn't so much into math/computers/science. I took them, because I liked learning in general, but I was really more of a literary person - an analysts of humans and why they're them. When I was 14 Kurt Cobain died and suddenly everything around me focused on what was important, what was real, what was society, it made a really big impact on who I was. Nobody ever believes that. Oh well.
So I wore all gray and wrote a lot of poetry. Also played the guitar, wrote songs, made demo tapes and tried to get my sister to sing backup, tried to teach my friends to be musical so we could keep it real together. It didn't work. But moving on...
My sophomore year I took Honors' English again and my teacher was a total psycho. I wasn't happy at all. I liked what we read and the class discussions, but our assignments are pointless: read this whole book and mark it with what's important and summaries on the top of each page, stuff like that. Also, this is the first year we started reading Shakesphere, which I loved. A Midsummer Nights' Dream was amazing, totally all about my "keep it real" philosophy. Then we read Macbeth, and along with that we're supposed to write a critical essay about some element or idea in the play. Mine chosen topic was the oppression of the female sex. Basically, I thought that if Lady Macbeth had been allowed to grow and flourish in her own realm of power, she wouldn't have gone so insane about her true position in life and everyone would have been okay, it was a beautiful lofty idea. Literary critics hadn't hit on it much before, it was original, so I only had one outside quote in my paper but I had lots of quotes from the play. I worked really, really hard.
I got a D.
My teacher said I needed more evidence to back my ideas up, that I couldn't just say things, I wasn't worth enough to do that. I had to put together other things that smart people had said, that's how you analyze things. I asked her who exactly she gave A's too, and she was like, "Travis got an A." Okay, Travis did his paper on "ambition"... a topic we discussed every day in class and that she cut out articles for us to read on. No orginal ideas, no effort on his part, just a bunch of bullshit from everybody else.
And I got to thinking, "what kind of world would we live in if we discouraged original ideas in all humans with less than 10 years of education under their belts?" Crap! We'd have a crappy world! Because in truth, everyone's ideas should be looked at, everyone should have a voice, the people who work hard should be rewarded, not the ones who follow the path, stay inside the box!
I was taking Geometry at the same time, we did lots of proofs. Everybody I knew hated proofs, all the writing that went into them, except me. I loved them. I didn't mind writing, and the order of everything just made me feel so comfortable. Then I get the idea in my head that in geometry, if I thought of an idea no one's had before, no one will care that I'm only 15 years old. If I can prove it, it's sold. Ideas are treated like they should be in math, it's not about what other people think, it's about how the world is.
I took one more year of Honors English then went to the regular class for my senior year (it cracked me up, they were learning what verbs were and stuff, ha!). English people of the world had just angered me, with all their conventions and structure. People think math is the conventional structured area of study: not so. Math is freedom.
So that's why I am where I am today- I took that whole idea and ran with it, went to find a place where I'd be listened to, respected, even admired if I could be smart enough. Freedom.