On account of the past seven or eight months of my life being entangled with Mountain Man’s, I was only capable of recognizing the most prominent of my personal wants and needs: the want to become a Forensic Architect, and consequently, the need to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. All other personal sentiments had become entwined with Mountain Man’s, and I could no longer discern where mine ended and his began.
An internal conflict arose when I became infatuated with vengeance at the end of January, 2016. Apart from learning how to drive a car, I can’t think of a single thing I did that Spring that didn’t stem from a desire to give Mountain Man a taste of his own medicine. I was still peeved by his complete dismissal of my feelings about Colorado; in fact, I wanted to bring him to his knees, turn the tables, force him to worship me for a change. My career goals and this growing hunger for revenge fought for dominance in my conscience. Neither one could maintain the throne, and I soon realized I would have to find a way to kill two birds with one stone—I had to devise a plan that would both demand retribution of Mountain Man and satisfy my academic needs.
A semi-logical plan revealed itself in early February: choose a four-year university to transfer to, but keep it secret from Mountain Man for as long as possible. The idea was to render Mountain Man speechless with jealousy and shock, so I determined that whichever university I picked would have to be in a location desirable to him (i.e. in a mountain town or in some remote, wilderness-dominated area), since I knew that simply announcing to Mountain Man that I’d be transferring to “some engineering school” wouldn’t be enough to completely floor him.
As it were, in February of 2016, when I wasn’t in class, at work, or learning how to drive, I was testing a long list of U.S. universities against my criteria. By the end of the month, I had narrowed down my choices to three schools: Montana Tech of the University of Montana in Butte, MT; the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO, and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, AK.
While all of this was going on, my step-grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. She was about to start an intense, hit-or-miss type of treatment, and my family was pretty worked up about it. On March 8th, I checked in with my grandfather by phone. I told him about my plan to transfer—but not about my plan to destroy my boyfriend—and he asked me if I was going to visit any of the campuses. I was taken aback, admitting that I hadn’t even considered that as an option, citing financial struggles as my primary concern. He then offered to pay whatever was necessary to get me to Alaska and Montana, but we both agreed that traveling to Colorado wasn’t necessary, since I’d just been there.
It wasn’t often that my grandfather offered to help me achieve my goals. He tended to dismiss them because they rarely aligned with the goals he thought I should have. It dawned on me that this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance; besides the fact that it would help immensely in my decision-making process to physically experience the campuses, I’d get to visit two states I’d never visited before, so I decided to take him up on the offer. We negotiated via email, and it was determined that I would first visit the University of Alaska—March 21-25—and then Montana Tech—April 14-17.
I reached out to the University of Alaska on February 26th, and to Montana Tech and Mines on Friday, March 11th to introduce myself and mention that I’d be visiting (at least, visiting the first two). It was all very exciting, as can be seen in this little snippet from an email I sent to my grandfather on Sunday, March 13th:
I think my list in order from favorite to least favorite is Montana Tech, Colorado, Alaska. Although really, I want to go to all 3 at the same time. I'm going to have to make some kind of diagram or chart when it comes down to it; I guess it really depends on which ones I get into. I'd be happy at any of them, I think. … Alaska and Montana are insanely affordable, but...if I don't get an amazing scholarship, Colorado might be out. We'll see, I'm so excited to see how it all plays out!!
But it wouldn’t pan out to be all sunshine and daisies, of course. For starters, I realized after obtaining plane tickets to travel to both Alaska and Montana that I’d just ruined my own plan to keep transferring schools a secret from Mountain Man—I was going to have to tell him where I would be during those dates, and I was going to have to do it soon. Impulsivity had struck again—it seems that this was a growing issue, especially between Mountain Man and me: he hated it when I did something without thoroughly examining each and every consequence. Unfortunately for both of us, I was incapable of doing this in the Spring of 2016. I was only making decisions based on what was going to help me exact revenge on Mountain Man, what was going to help me get through school, and what was going to push me towards a career as a Forensic Architect. As a result, I was blind to all potential side-effects and consequences associated with my choices.
At least it made for some good stories.
The next personal-story segment will tell the story of my visit to Alaska, and the segment after that will tell the story of my visit to Butte. I may intersperse these with other articles, but still—brace yourself for a wild ride.