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As a freshman in college, I was having a lot of trouble adjusting. I took a meditation class to handle anxiety. It really helped. Then as a grad student at Harvard, I was awarded a pre-doctoral traveling fellowship to India, where my focus was on the ancient systems of psychology and meditation practices of Asia.
The combat environment has the effect of flattening out civilian identities. If you're young or old, or a graduate from Harvard or the son of a farmer from Alabama, or if you're gay or straight or good-looking or ugly: none of those things matters much in combat, as long as you can conform to the group expectations.
I was living as a young single mom. I was 19 when I was divorced, and my daughter was a year old, and I waited tables here three to four nights a week for several years while I was trying to support myself and my daughter and the day I got that acceptance at Harvard Law School was an unforgettable day.
My mother taught public school, went to Harvard and then got her master's there and taught fifth and sixth grade in a public school. My dad had a more working-class lifestyle. He didn't go to college. He was an auto mechanic and a bartender and a janitor at Harvard.
I started my career as a liberal arts major from Berkeley, wrote about enterprise IT for a few years, then followed my passion for the digital narrative into graduate school as well (also at Berkeley, the Oxford of the West or, perhaps, the Harvard - sorry Stanford!). My first project out of grad school was 'Wired' magazine.