Thursday, January 25, 2007

School Daze...

This article is from today's Washington Post. I must admit, I like this paper a lot. I've read the Times before, and that's usually the paper "conservatives" prefer around this burg. Not me, though...I'm a Post girl all the way.

The article in question discusses various high school honors programs (AP, et al). In my high school, we didn't have AP classes...we had courses recommended for "college bound" students, but no advanced placement stuff of any kind. We had ambitious folks who took college courses in addition to high school courses, but not that many.

Let me lay out the first three paragraphs for you...

Alyssa Smith, 17, was taking Advanced Placement classes at Woodbridge Senior High School in Prince William County. Her boyfriend was in the International Baccalaureate program at Stonewall Jackson High School near Manassas.

"I got an opportunity to look at his homework . . . and his work sheets were pretty simple," said Smith, now a senior. "We'd always have arguments over who was more exhausted, and I would always win. My parents made fun of IB. They didn't think it was a quality program, either."

Smith and her boyfriend have broken up now.
OK - right there, the article shows me a few things beyond what is printed on the paper.

(1) The girl - intelligent though she may be - is incredibly shallow.
(2) The shallowness is obviously a genetic trait, as her parents show it as well.
(3) Why would you gloat about being exhausted? Whoop-d-flippin'-do.

I was one of those students that was neither good or bad in school. I was above average in certain things, and abysmal in others. Looking back, I think my bipolarity was emerging even in high school. If I were medicated, I probably would have gone further, done better, etc.

But now that I'm 37 (almost 38...oh Lord...) I have noticed a few things about life.

High school should prepare you for life, as should college. No doubt about that at all.

But what do you do if life throws you a curve ball? What if you get to college and you can't handle it? If you don't know how to do anything else, what do you do? What if you get to college and find that your high school didn't prepare you as well as you thought?

I have many war stories (my own and others) to share. I stumbled and fell several times out of college.

Some might say that I didn't focus on exactly WHAT I wanted to do. However, when they do, I tell them this sad story:

One of my old boyfriends from college was an honors student in Chemistry. He was a National Merit Scholar finalist. His future shone bright on the horizon. He could do no wrong.

Then he went to grad school.

First off, he forgot to turn in his financial aid forms - twice. This was not a good start. Since the financial aid forms were dust in the wind, he had to drop out of grad school and *gasp* WORK FOR A LIVING!!!!!

He got fired from a few jobs, he got laid short, his future was like the rest of ours; totally uncertain. He didn't have other skills to speak of, so he had to start from scratch.
His story would have been kind of sad to me except for the fact that he could be a totally patronizing ASS. His attitude was not unlike that girl listed above. Sometimes he'd talk down to me, and so would his parents (they were both teachers).

Why do people have to be this way? I know it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and you have to play hard to get what you want. Is it necessary to treat a significant other like dirt just because they are going through an "inferior" honors program?

And even if you ARE successful, sometimes people can even turn that around on you. This same guy (the sad story guy) who was so patronizing to me actually LIED to me on our first date. He said he was in Iowa All-State Band two years running. I looked it up, and he wasn't. I asked him if he was an alternate or something, and the dude actually broke down in TEARS, saying he lied to me in order to impress me.


Other music majors, upon hearing of my All-State history, tried to say, "Well, that doesn't mean anything..." and insert some reason that made them look better and made me look like a hack of some sort.

It seems like the snottiness and one-upmanship never ends. It's sad to see it in college-bound students especially, because life might very well kick them in the ass and they're not going to be ready. They could become another drug addiction or suicide statistic.

I hope this girl learns that grades and academic success aren't the only two things that make you a happy person. People skills are indeed part of that equation, and making light of others' academic paths is not going to look good on your relationship resume, girly-girl.

That's all for 2day!