Great piece! This really resonates with me. Growing up, I had always had a passion for writing but I attribute my first serious/deep sci-fi work to high school - not because of course work or mentoring per se, but because I would write during class as a creative outlet and to basically keep sane while I waited for the lesson to move on and tried to make peace with how inefficient and absurd the whole process was. It looked enough like classwork that no-one caught on, and now I'm hooked :)