So there I was, a transplant from an all-girls school in a big university, and one of my main preoccupation was showing off a new dress every day. I am a bit ashamed to say I couldn’t hack university life. There were too many things going on. First, I was simply not cut out to be an engineer; second, the university was too large and too impersonal. By this I mean the teachers didn’t even know me, something I was not used to. So I floated from class to class feeling off-kilter. There were a lot of boys and parties, but I had a difficult time juggling my social life with the academic. In the end, I did fine with all my courses except Math, which zipped through Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus in one semester. I could have died! During our finals, one classmate, a young man who had a crush on me and who knew I was a goner, pushed his test paper over so I could copy his work. Since I was raised by nuns, I never even considered cheating, and so I did not accept his offering. I got an Incomplete for Math. The teacher Ms. Brown later kindly explained to me that I deserved an “F” but she decided to give me an Incomplete instead. She said I could take a summer class and get caught up.
Going to California with a clear-cut academic goal and a new environment to explore was an excellent alternative.