Started attending Saint Louis University
Despite all the drama with education, I was determined to be a college graduate. Without the means to leave town, this left me local options.
In a brazen display of privilege, I didn’t seriously consider the University of Missouri, any of the community colleges, or even Webster or Fontbonne. I was disappointed life had robbed me of my path through MIT, Carnegie Mellon, or UC Berkley, so was already “settling” to consider Washington University or SLU.
I approached both and they each were happy to admit me on the strength of my test scores despite having only a GED. But neither would offer scholarships for merit (with no senior year record) or for need (estranged or not, my parents had funds). I figured I could manage tuition at SLU with student loans, so there I went. It was inadvisably arbitrary, and I would now advise my past self to start at a state school for the basics.