Saturday, September 13, 2008
This wasn't how it was supposed to happen.
It's not how I envisioned it 12 years ago when I saw Allen Iverson declare he was leaving school early for the NBA.
Over the last decade my goal changed from wanting to be Allen Iverson to wanting to be the guy sitting on the other side of the table with the notepad on his lap and the recorder in his hand.
Then I decided that I didn't want to become a sports reporter, but there was still a huge part of me that wanted to be Iverson.
Unfortunately I was not blessed with the a lightning-quick first step or any athletic ability for that matter, but I'm still trying to emulate Iverson.
So just like Iverson, I'm dropping out of school.
OK, so maybe it's nothing like Iverson, since I'm announcing my declaration to leave school on my personal blog and Iverson announced his in a press conference that ran on ESPN. There's also that whole thing about Iverson having guaranteed millions waiting for him and me having nothing but the promise of an empty bank account.
Additionally I plan on returning to class in January, unlike Iverson who probably couldn't tell you where a classroom is on the Georgetown campus.
Abandoning the A.I. analogy, after a ton deliberation I decided to temporarily drop out of school for a number of reasons.
I have honestly put so much energy and thought to dropping out that at one point I considered staying in school just because it was the easier route.
As I've mentioned before school here is hardly stressful or overwhelming, in fact it's so unstressful and boring that every minute I sit in class my soul dies a little bit knowing I am wasting precious time in South America.
I can't pin-point the exact time it hit me, but I think while I was sitting in my family room watching my Guatemalan roommate sing along to Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten," I realized I should stop going to school, get out and feel the South America rain on my skin.
I figured I wouldn't even be losing much if I did drop out, the only downside would be switching from a Spanish Literature major to a Spanish minor and having to pay back my father a couple grand in tuition money, which is now essentially wasted. Although I did get to meet some great people in the school and I still plan on going to Birds, so in retrospect it was not entirely wasted.
I also figured that if I left school I could get my mother out of the rough ghetto and make enough money to afford the special care for my sister's seizures, no wait that's Allen Iverson again.
My biggest hold-up was ensuring that I would still be eligible for my scholarship should I not receive any credits this semester.
I've never called a 1-900 number before, but I can't imagine a phone sex operator saying anything more filthy and gratifying than what my scholarship adviser told me.
"We actually have no way of seeing what you are doing down there, we don't check to see what you did when you come back," she said. "As long as you come back in the Spring and sign up for 12 credits, you'll have your scholarship."
With that I was basically free to go, but I still spoke with 900 other people to make sure I wasn't overlooking something that would come back to bite me.
Technically I'm still in school and still on track to receive credits down here, so if you have a good reason for me to stay in school please lay it on me. And because of my current mindset a "good reason" needs to be something along the lines of, "My friend just graduated UA with a journalism and Spanish degree and is now making six figures, mainly because of his Spanish literature degree."
The tentative plan now is to leave Buenos Aires in the end of October and begin backpacking South America, which ties into reason 215 I'm dropping out: to be like Che Guevara. In 1948 Che took a year off from studying at the University of Buenos Aires to travel South America by motorcycle.
During his journey found the inspiration to fight and die for the cause of the poor and dreamed of uniting Latin America, all of which he chronicled in The Motorcycle Diaries. I'm just hoping to find Paul McPherson and do a halfway decent job of blogging the experience.