This is a conversation I had a while ago:
Me: I’m thinking about things I can do for fun.
Person I know who is smart, level-headed and not impulsive like me: Oh, like a hobby?
Me: No. Like law school!
Him: Why? Do you want to be a lawyer?
Me: Oh, no way. Him: Then, why would you think about going to law school?
Me: To prove to people I’m not as dumb as they all think I am.
Him: So, spite. You’d be going to law school for spite.
As yet, I have not applied to law school. But, if I ever do, and if I ever go, this is 100% the reason. This is 100% the reason I do a lot of things. Spite. And to prove I’m not as (insert negative thing here) as people think I am. I finished undergrad in three-and-a-half-years, to prove it wasn’t a fluke that I started college at 17. I was a journalism major to spite a high school teacher that said I was a terrible writer. I went to graduate school because my friends thought I couldn’t. I moved to D.C. because I didn’t think I could. I’ll even do stuff just to spite myself. The easiest way to get me to do something — and do it better than anybody else, or at least to do more, go farther, work harder, do whatever it takes — is just to let me think you doubt I can. Forget it. I’ll do dumb stuff. I’ll do stuff I don’t even really want to do, just to say hey, guess you thought wrong, huh?
Except for two years while I was in DC working in media/communication professionally, I have been constantly involved in scholastic journalism (either as a student on staff of a school publication, a student studying journalism or an adviser) since 1994, when I worked on the staff of the student newspaper at my middle school in seventh grade. It’s 2011 now. I have done this for more than half of my life. And I believe I recall someone telling me, back then, in sixth grade or so, that the journalism classes were tough to get into, and I might not make the cut. But I did.
It’s not necessarily a good quality, especially not combined with my unyielding stubbornness, but so far it’s led to positive accomplishments. Hopefully it will lead to a lot more.