It would be the rare young person who has not faced the humiliation of bullying at some point in his or her growing up. I let my hair down in this episode by sharing a somewhat traumatic experience that transpired my first year away at college. And, I describe how I was able to move from a sense of victimhood to empowerment by reframing the incident.
The story emerges in the course of a phone conversation with my old friend Jerry Trumbule of Denver, Colorado. He was present at the incident we discuss, and even admits to playing a role in precipitating it.
Jerry and I have led remarkably parallel lives. We met during our freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania and hit it off immediately. We were both there on scholarship. We both won scholarships through the U.S. Navy (but I didn’t accept mine). We both began in electrical engineering. Independantly, we both switched out of engineering into creative writing. Circumstances forced Jerry to leave Penn after his freshman year but we stayed in contact. Independently, we both ended up getting M.A. degrees in psychology and later getting into doctoral psychology programs– me at the University of Michigan and him back at the University of Pennsylvania. We did diverge inasmuch as I studied clinical psychology and he was into physiological psychology. There have been other parallels since those days but I won’t burden you with them. This background may help you to understand the comfort with one another that you will hear in the recorded phone conversation.