In second grade we were studying dinosaurs, and then rocks and minerals. I had never been so excited for a class before. I brought my own notebook from home and took notes on what the teacher said. I would read the notes when I got home, too.
We had a test one day and I wasn’t sure if I could use my notes to help me. Nobody else took notes, but that’s because we were in second grade — that’s not a thing you do yet. So I quietly went up to the teacher’s desk and showed her my notebook, and asked if it was okay that I used it on the test. I still remember the wide-eyed look she gave me. “Of course not,” she said, and I slunk back — I can’t describe it more accurately — to my desk to write the test. I don’t think I kept notes after that. I thought what I did was wrong.
I didn’t care much for science after that. But I do recall that I kept a diary — separate from my school notes, of course — and very infrequently made entries. I wasn’t much of a routine-based kid. There was one entry from around the time of the dinosaur/rocks and minerals class. It read:
“I MUST BECOME A PALEONTOLOGIST.”
I’m still impressed I spelled it right.
In high school I was very grossed out by bones, and became a vegetarian, probably not coincidentally. All notions of paleontology went out the window when I learned bones and fossils were very much a part of the discipline. But I don’t think second-grade me would be too disappointed in the direction I ended up going in, however inadvertent the journey was.
I had never heard about Classics before university. I knew about history, of course, but I didn’t know you could study the classical world exclusively. In a way, I feel as if I’ve really come full-circle with my interests.
I forgot all about my paleontology dreams until I found that old diary at my parent’s house. It hadn’t crossed my mind since I wrote it down, probably. I can’t help but wonder, though, if somehow there was a tiny subconscious second-grader in the back of my mind, shouting that old things were pretty neat.