12Taking Risks and Grasping Opportunities

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do…Explore. Dream. Discover.”

—Mark Twain

“Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.”

—Jodie Foster

Going to the London School of Economics (LSE) during my junior year abroad at Georgetown, and traveling so far from Boston, was a big adventure for me. I had chosen to go to a British university because at least I knew I could speak the language. I arrived in January 1978, missing one of the biggest blizzards in recent American history. When I got there, I discovered that the LSE allowed for independent thinking to a degree that I hadn't encountered at school. Although a lot of American universities claim to support independent thinking, when it comes to exam time, you need to be sure your independent thought is the same as your professor's if you hope to get an A grade.

I learned a lot in the year I was there, sharing a flat at 220 Cromwell Road in Earls Court, a bohemian part of West London at the time, popular with Australian travelers and the less well-off Arab visitors who were just starting to arrive in London in the seventies. My flatmates were actors studying at places like the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the famous London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, which was just across the road. One of them was Paul Provenza who went on to make a big name for himself in comedy, starring in ...

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