Stuttering in College Part 6

Onto junior year. By this time I was really happy at the newspaper and could see that yes, I might be able to reach my freshman-year goal of becoming editor in chief by senior year. The position was really only open to someone who had experience at the paper, and who the advisors were familiar with. There was one other person I’d have to interview against, but I don’t think he was taking it terribly seriously.

This is when I started to see how organizations — and moving up in one — really worked. It was all about networking and who you knew. You couldn’t just cold-call and hope to get a job.

My junior year I also moved off campus (but still within easy walking distance) and got a car. The car was useful for driving the four hours back and forth to my parent’s house. And driving aimlessly around Pittsburgh on the weekends. Gas was cheaper back then.

During high school, I managed to get a bit of a reputation with regards to my somewhat reckless driving. I don’t think I was too bad — I never crashed into anybody or anything — but it continued in college once I got my car. The other bit that added to the story was that I didn’t drink — so I’d end up being the designated driver all the time.

Sometime during my junior year I had the first thoughts regarding my stuttering and what was really going on below the surface. I got a taste of the iceberg — although I didn’t know about it at the time. And even though I got a taste, I didn’t do anything about it.

It goes like this: I realized that my driving — reckless or fast or otherwise — was causing people to talk about it. They’d think me, then they’d think of the driving. My subconscious had, for the past few years, been playing this little game. It found things to divert everybody’s attention. Sure, they seemed innocent or “just the way I was,” but really, they were all just a diversion. If people were talking about my driving, then they weren’t talking about my stutter.

I think for some people who stutter, they’re introverted to begin with. So they’re not doing other things to divert everybody’s attention. I’m not. So if I was going to be out there, out talking to friends, seeing new things and having new experiences, I’d dictate the terms. And what people would remember of me during those times.

A few years after college, I sat down to write more of my thoughts on this. And realized a lot of who I was had been set up by my crafty subconscious.


  1. Geraint Isitt says:

    I’m going to start at part 1 and work my way up to this. Might as well follow the sequence.

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