I've gotten some new readers around here recently, so allow me some background. Those reading since at least September or so will find the first part quite familiar.
Here at school, I have generally made an effort to keep to myself and try not to ruffle too many feathers. My natural introversion borders on the autism spectrum; the company of other people is something that (except for my loving wife, and even she knows I have my limits) I try to avoid as much as possible. I'm right at home poring over a set of financial statements, fiddling around with Excel, putting pencil to paper for my Statistics class work (60/60 on the latest test---that's right, I rock. If I get at least a 7 out of 40 on the next homework---that's not a misprint---I'll get an A in the class without having to take the final exam.) I prefer the company of animals to people, and to be quite honest the animals need not even be the live kind---the company of stuffed animals is preferable to the company of humans far more often than not.
One of my favorite quotes from a video game comes from Ganredhel, an Elven woman in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, who says "Dogs are loyal and stupid. People are devious and smart. I'll stick with dogs." I think I have pretty well incontrovertibly established just how much I dislike human contact...so why is it that I'm Treasurer of the Entrepreneurship Club and a reliable go-to guy for networking events?
Well, it started as a favor to a faculty member. I took a class in marketing during summer session and the teacher took a shine to me as I was actively engaged and hardworking in her class (even though the material did nothing to tamp down my extremely strong dislike of the "science" of marketing and its weasel practitioners. I wrote about this in June.) I ran into her at the campus orientation fair on the third day of school and stopped by to say hello and pass a little small talk about "how was your summer" and similar banalities. She gave me a brochure and told me I should "come join the E club" (which to me, as a late-stage Generation Xer, sounds like a club dedicated to doing crappy party drugs from the late nineties.)
I went to the first meeting as a courtesy with the intention of being able to say to myself "OK, I didn't totally give an Eff You to the teacher, now I've got work to do." What I didn't expect was that I'd caught the attention of the Associate Dean of Business here at the college, a woman who acted from zero hour like she'd known me for years (well, given my horrendous past, probably not "years", or she'd have run away in terror or told me to get lost. Months, anyway.) She nominated me for the vacant treasurer position in the club, and flattery will get you everywhere with me so I accepted. Well, there went any hope I had of "go to class, go home, ballgame"! And with it went a sizeable chunk of my free time.
Fast forward to now. I've been to two club events and I'm sitting in "my office" now passing the three hours between my Statistics class and when the networking portion of tonight's event begins at five (or is it 5:30? Eh...not like it matters. I'm here either way.) I will be gladhanding, telling stories and jokes, and generally acting like someone who isn't a borderline-autistic introvert with a major aversion to social contact. And somehow, through the actions of the gods via instruments I am thoroughly unfamiliar with, my presence will be welcomed, my wit will spark the desired level of amusement in my audience, and I'll generally be treated like a valued member of the community.
I remain absolutely astounded by all of the above...and even more astounded that there may be a scholarship in it for me since through the dean I have begun to attract some attention from Reno's business community, some members of which would be more than happy to provide a scholarship for an ambitious non-traditional student with a goal that could pay dividends to those same business people down the road. And here I thought I was just trying to get a piece of paper to my name.
I've also got to wonder if mine isn't the most extraordinary spread between one's talents and one's personality out there. I'm looking at a career in the fast paced world of business and finance, tossing around numbers by day and bons mots by night if I'm to get ahead and make the money I'll need to be able to retire in comfort before my family history of dropping dead at a startlingly young age gets to me first. It's a career track that favors the extrovert, the natural-born salesman, the gregarious grandmaster of ceremony and delight. It is, quite simply, the sort of track in life that one would naturally tend to believe would lead me to spend meaningful time on a psychiatrist's couch...but it's also what I have a natural gift for and about the only thing I can do correctly that happens to have marketable value.
If I had my way I'd be a freelance columnist, maybe a sportswriter, maybe churning out anecdotal puff pieces (like this one) for publication somewhere. Maybe I'd be a travel and food writer, sort of an Anthony Bourdain but minus the penchant for thinking Third World travel is enjoyable---I'd rather write reviews of pizza places in Napoli or New York. Sadly, my chances of getting a college degree in the liberal arts, humanities, or journalism is near nil---I nearly flunked out of high school because I was so bad at the literature requirements in English class.
So I'm an accounting major. And a treasurer. And an all-around hell of a guy...but my gods, I'm going to be glad when I get this coming Friday to myself and I spend all day while my wife's at work playing video games alone in the house. The Monday through Thursday grind is driving me bananas.