There are few people in this world that I consider real, true friends. People with whom you can have 1:00 a.m. car talks, and who will then go hiking with you the next day or go searching through racks of ridiculous 90’s cloths at a thrift shop with. Unadulterated, pure friendship is rare, but I have that with Adam. I’ve known Adam for at least 10 years, and in the past 4 years he has grown to be one of my very best friends. He is the kind of friend who will support me at my highest moments, (like at my graduation from QVCC), and who will be there to help me pick up the pieces when I need it most (like the emergency 7:00 am chocolate chip pancakes he made for me on one of my worst days). No matter what, I can count on Adam to lend an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or even just a few words of advice if that’s what I need the most.
Adam began his schooling in a semi-traditional setting, having attended St. Mary’s school from kindergarten to 8th grade. He attended Putnam High School for one semester before deciding that it wasn’t for him. He was having health issues involving undiagnosed food allergies, and felt as though he was taking a step backwards because he had already completed much of the curriculum they were using. His mom decided to try homeschooling him after he complained about school every day during his first semester.
When I asked Adam what he enjoyed about being home schooled, he told me that he could “build my life around my education, and my education around my life. I could study things that were relevant and important to me, as well as expanding my own world view. Whereas in public school, generally you’re given your information on a platter, and it’s not quite as free.” Adam’s homeschooling routine was different than mine, because he attended a co-op and spent at least one day a week at one of his homeschool friend’s houses doing work. It was interesting to me to talk to him about these variances from what I did when I was homeschooled. He really enjoyed the days he could go to co-op and his friend’s house, because they always had a structured day and he knew what he was going to study. The co-op he attended was in Massachusetts and his “grade” (sophomore in high school) consisted of 10-12 students. There, he got to take a class in Latin roots for English words, as well as English, poetry, creative writing, and art expression. He even got to be a member of their yearbook committee.
As I have been doing with all of the homeschooled students I interviewed, I asked Adam how he was socialized when he was homeschooled – because it is still one of the most common questions I get asked to this day. His response to this hypothetical person legitimately wondering how he was socialized was “how were you socialized? Just because I was homeschooled doesn’t mean I was locked in a cellar, given a book, a scrap of food and a towel for a blanket.” Adam was very involved in community theatre, as well as a youth community service group, and even tried karate at one point. He always had friends pulling him into different activities. Socialization was never an issue for him, if anything, “I might have prioritized socialization sometimes over my actual education.”
When Adam was 17, he received his GED and then continued his education at QVCC. He was originally a little nervous going into a collegiate setting, but said that his English class at the co-op prepared him quite well for his first college English class, boosting his confidence. As he gained experience at QV, he felt prepared and began to feel more comfortable in college. Adam majored in General Studies, and graduated from QVCC in 2014. When I asked him whether or not he found QVCC classes to be inherently easy, he said that “anyone who calls these classes inherently easy can take my managerial accounting class.” Adam echoed the opinion of several other students I interviewed, as he felt that the reason why a lot of people find it easier to succeed at a community college is because you’re spending more one-on-one time with your professor, which isn’t a luxury that is an option at a 4 year school. “Your teacher gets invested in you and wants you to learn, and you get to know them and you don’t want to disappoint them, so you work a little harder. If you’re in a 200 person lecture hall, it’s easy to just feel like a face in the crowd and your actions are inconsequential.”
After graduating in 2014, Adam took a little time off from college but eventually decided that he wanted to pursue a Bachelor’s degree at Eastern. He knew that he needed a few more prerequisites before he enrolled in Eastern, so he returned to QVCC to take a lab science, a higher level math, and a year of language. Much to his surprise, this year of language introduced him to a new love of Spanish, and he is now at Eastern – double majoring in marketing and Spanish. When he graduates from Eastern, Adam is thinking of working in the PR field for international charities. He is hoping that his background in Spanish will help him land a job in this field, because he’s always loved working with people and is very creative when it comes to solving problems.
When Adam and I were both attending QVCC, we got to spend an abundance of time together, and while we’re currently at different schools and are astonishingly busy throughout the semester, we are still able to maintain a beautiful friendship. We both tutor at the QVCC Learning Center, so without fail we get to check in with one another every week and see how things are going. Sometimes that’s all we get, but no matter how busy we become, I know we’ll always make time to grab lunch at Heirloom or have a gluten-free baking night. Adam is one of the rare people I have found who is as mature and wise as I can be, and it is so enjoyable to see how our friendship grows the older we get. It’s wonderful to have a friend who has known you for so long and has seen all of the failures behind your successes, and yet is still your steadfast supporter.