Hello everyone. I suppose an introduction is necessary... actually, Cassie does. My name is Justin Lockwood. This is my first year at Shimer. I come from Long Island, New York. A place where the food's good, the drinks are cold, and the jazz clubs are open so late you can't tell your todays from your tomorrows. And it didn't matter, 'cause to us, there were no tomorrows. We lived fast and dined easy and there was no two ways about it. Oh man I love the place. It's beautiful. A nice little piece of heaven for all us growin' youth to play around in and learn the ways of the world. At least the ways of our world. Anyways I'm getting off topic. So how'd a nice kid from the suburbs get mixed up in a big city at a small college? Well I'll tell ya.
That's me and the boys at the old ball field where I grew up. We called it the sandlot, and we basically spent all of our time there until the end of the movie. That's me right up front. We had a lot of good times back on the Island. I grew up in a fairly large town called Huntington that stood in between the city on the western end and the vineyards in the east; and at only a stone's throw away from either. My childhood was relatively normal. I had friends, I played sports, I scraped knees. It was all there. In kindergarten I got suspended for fighting my current best friend over who gets the cubby space next to Kiersten Barnett's. He got suspended too. I have a stuffed dog named Poundie who has been with me since my arrival on this planet and who will remain with me until the end of days. His age takes its toll, though, and Poundie's public travel is at the moment limited to a 10 by 12 room in my parents house, although like all stuffed animals I'm sure he's still well enough to travel the world, well enough to sail the seven seas and explore the Earth's four corners from the second I turn my back on him until the moment someone's eyes are laid in his direction.
High school was the bees knees and I walked around wearing the cat's pajamas. That's me on the left. There isn't much to say about my high school experience. I didn't go to the best high school, it was public, and after two years I was dismissed, then allowed re-entry for my senior year. Not a lot was learned inside those walls but fun was had. College-bound kids were made. Trouble was gotten into and tests were passed, or, rather, hoops jumped through. I didn't formally play any sports in high school and I didn't belong to any clubs. For me, the less time spent with the people I considered (by default) my peers the better. All in all it was a good time. After high school I went away to a state school almost immediately and spent a year there. It wasn't for me. I thought college would provide me an academic escape from everything I hated about my high school's dynamic. This wasn't the case...It felt like being in 13th grade. So I left. I went back to Long Island and got a job working at a small brokerage firm in Westbury while attending courses at a Community College. It didn't take me very long to realize that Community College just wouldn't do as this particular one was literally the embodiment of all of the negative aspects of my particular high school. Psuedo gang members wandered around. The teachers didn't care about teaching and the students cared less about learning; it was just a bunch of people going through motions. I tried taking online courses but just wasn't getting anything out of them. The classroom experience is an important part of learning and having no classroom is about as acceptable as having an inadequate classroom experience, which was what Community College gave me. I had to get back into school and this time for real; to a place I could actually consider an institute of learning, and not just a placemark. My search began.
Finding the perfect school didn't prove to be as easy as I thought. The picture above illustrates my frustration. I'm the one in the red. I quit my job and began searching for the school I'd feel proud to be attending. At first glance, Shimer was not it. I always pictured myself at a large university as opposed to a small college. Time makes fools of us all though, doesn't it? I had no idea where I wanted to go but I knew for sure I wanted a change from New York. I decided to search for potential schools based on a predetermined list of states or cities I wouldn't mind trying to live in. Keep in mind that at this time in my life I had never left the east coast and had only been on a plane once, but had always wanted to see Chicago, so I started here...
...I have to return some video tapes.
If you'll all be kind enough to excuse me, until next time.
~Justin (vanity shot included)