Hannah Feinstein possesses a quirkiness that is reminisce of the actresses from the show Broad City, rectangular glasses upon her face and an enviable short haircut that she casually flips back in mid conversation. You can immediately get the perception that Hannah is the kind of individual who sat by the weird girl in class or defended the quiet boy at lunch who painted his nail lavender. Hannah doesn’t seem to fit into any of the high school or college archetypes. She’s uniquely herself with an impressive sensitivity and a keen awareness of her privilege.
Hannah’s fledgling academic self was first discovered within the confines of her home. Her mother was a teacher and the guiding influence on her eventual career choice. Her mother had went back to school upon becoming pregnant with Hannah. She cheekily expressed, “I basically got a degree when being birthed.” A career in childcare wasn’t necessarily preordained it took a few walks in the dark to get to that consensus. She found herself at the University of Central Florida away from her family taking on the major of hospitality management. She quickly recognized that she didn’t like the structure and realized that most of what she was being taught could easily be learned through hands-on experience at a restaurant. She dropped out after one year, finding a job at Disney’s Orlando theme park. It’s the vision of tourists biting into gigantic turkey legs and children giddy after a ride on the teacups. It was a job, perfunctory and routine. Hannah didn’t envision ever going back to school, but a deadly fatal virus had other ideas.
March , April , May , June floated as the world became a zombie dystopia. It was a Shakespearean tragedy. Hannah regretted going out of state for school and saw it as a waste of money. She had dropped out of an English class that semester , fretting over a five page essay. Her academic self was shedding its skin at that point. She was creative, but only saw perfection in her writing. The first draft had to be the equivalent of Shakespearean prose or she couldn’t fathom going further. Hannah preferred math. The answers were readily there and it was concrete. English asked more of her, begged her to determine more of the text and of herself. She spent the pandemic months with the idea that she would eventually be able to go back and work at Disney. The call never came. Without an air of anything special Hannah, thought to herself, “Where is the nearest place to get my degree.”
The Alpharetta Georgia State campus became the newest space for Hannah’s academic self. She had admitted to being a procrastinator, a creative, but also even a little performative. She espoused, “The me I put on, versus the me I actually am.” For Hannah the focus academically isn’t primarily being the most intellectually inept but pursuing what is the most profound and actively kind. Passionately, she spoke of her conflict with the elitist spaces of college. This idea can be interpreted further with the article, Taking My Parents to College. In the article it explores the exact perception of elitism and how it can be isolating for marginalized individuals, creating an environment of feeling like an imposter, an alien in the room. It’s obvious that Hannah’s empathy translates to an academic self that is reflective and evolving.
For Hannah the academic setting has changed, and what she longs for is communication. The interaction with her classmates is what she misses. She finds comfort in the hijinks of the characters on Parks and Recreation. She admits that she prefers the quiet sound of nothing when she studies. The literature of Harry Potter books seemed to be the only books she could stomach. Her lack of reading was an adolescent rebellion, she sought ways to be completely different from her sister, that meant no pages of Judy Blume to be discovered. It seems that with any person the academic self is a multitude of experiences. The first time you raised your hand in class. The first subject that challenged you. The book that gave language to your oppression. Hannah’s academic self-began with her mother, the teacher. Hannah will soon become a fourth teacher one day eventually leading her pupils to the journey of their academic selves.