Middle Seat

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.


My grandfather found himself in the yellowed pages of a Bible, my father in the South African anti-apartheid movement. I found myself in a 2004 Scion xA hatchback nicknamed Oliver.

Writing flash-fiction until my hand ached, reading library books past their due date, and attending Socratic seminars intense enough to work up a sweat were the only times I felt I shouldn't be somewhere else. Novels were my personal escape, but upon my arrival at the Bay School freshman year, I felt the need to remold my Flat Stanley self into someone who could more easily pass for one of the crowd. I hung out with the "socially superior" soccer team, cut back on reading Joyce, and rarely discussed politics outside of my house. I never let anyone know just how much I enjoyed National Geographic or McSweeney's Quarterly.

I met Zach, Jonah, and Derek in Sophomore Humanities. Quiet but engaged like me, they were different than my typical peers. We didn't speak to one another during the first class, but everything changed when we were assigned to be "fish" in the fishbowl discussion about Abrahamic religions' effect on society. Blabbering on about the Bible's disparaging views of usurers was the most fun I'd had since middle school. Nobody could...

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