My high school had kind of an unusual schedule—or at least I think it was unusual, but maybe you can tell me. There was no such thing as a lunch period or study hall. Instead, each class only met four days per week instead of five: for example, maybe your French class didn’t meet on Tuesdays, your Geometry class didn’t meet on Thursdays, your Biology and P.E. classes didn’t meet on Fridays, and so on. This meant that you usually had one or two free periods—or “X periods”, as they were called—built into your schedule each day, and during these periods you were allowed to do whatever you wanted. You could eat lunch, work on your homework, wander the halls, check your email at the email station (I went to high school in the late 90s, guys), or simply walk out through the front doors of the school and go off-campus.
When I was in third grade, my class did a unit on space and astronomy and NASA. It was the coolest. We got to go to the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium and eat freeze-dried ice cream, and we also got to do an experiment where we planted a bunch of tomato seeds that had been in space and a bunch of tomato seeds that had not been in space, to find out which ones would grow better. (I assumed that the tomato seeds that had been in space would grow into crazy bionic alien plants, but surprisingly, they just turned out to be a little less likely to sprout than the non-space seeds.) My hero that year was Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and I wanted to be an astronaut just like her.
Okay everyone, today is the day that I disclose something about my debt that I don’t usually talk about. And the reason I don’t usually talk about it is because…well, to be honest, I only fully came to terms with it this week. It’s a tough and somewhat embarrassing topic for me, but I also think it’s a pretty important issue, so here goes.