Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Touch of Class

Well, my darling husband has re-entered the college world this week. He is working on completing his bachelor’s degree, then he will be moving on to a masters. You can read more about it here .

I’m so excited for him, especially because this is the first time he will be going to college because he wants to, not because he has to, and because he will be working towards a new career that will really make him happy. That, in turn, makes me happy.

All this talk about course syllabuses and homework this week has gotten me to thinking about my own schooling history. From the minute I hit Kindergarten I loved school. Not only did I enjoy it, but I was really good at it too. It’s one of the few things that I actually do very well. In fact, if someone would pay me, I would gladly just go to school for the rest of my life.

I was one of those annoying kids, the ones who got all As, even in the subjects I didn’t like or wasn’t as good at. And I was also that annoying kid who would cry if I got an 89 percent instead of a 90 or 95 percent. Yeah, I was a perfectionist and set high standards for myself, but I loved the challenge.

My favorite subjects all throughout school never changed. They were always English, Art and Music, in that order. I enjoyed History and the Sciences too, but they weren’t my favorites. Using my imagination to read, write stories and draw…ah…there’s no better high for me. In fact, from the time I was very little I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I even have a little drawing I did when I was 5 years old that says “I want to be an artist and write books.” There is a lovely little clichéd picture underneath it of myself in an artist’s smock and beret with paintbrush in hand. And I’ve been right on track for that goal, a stunning success in English and Art, until I graduated college and hit the real world, that is. I’ve been derailed ever since. But perhaps that is a lament best saved for another blog entry.

In elementary school, I loved Drama too, but once I got to High School, and it became an extremely competitive thing… well… that ended my acting career before it even got started. I was too scared. Being competitive is just not in my nature (and that’s an understatement).

My most hated subjects where Math and P.E. Numbers just don’t stick in my head. They never have. I can’t bend them and get them to work properly. I always got As and Bs in Math, but it was with much blood, sweat and tears. The homework took me about three times as long as my other homework and included much complaining and whining. I hated P.E. even more, because I’ve always been such a klutz. My middle name is not “grace”. Then add to that equation the fact that I wore glasses and was a complete geek. My glasses would invariably get knocked off my head by a wayward basketball and go flying across the playground. It was an hour of humiliation every week. I’m so very glad to have those days behind me.

Well, I think I’m done taking a stroll down memory lane, especially after those last bumps in the road. One of the reasons I wrote this post was to ask you, gentle readers, what your favorite subjects in school were, just to get to know a little bit more about you. I invite you to leave a comment and let me know.


Kathleen said...

Your school experience was so interesting to read. First let me say, don't let the idea of being “derailed” from your dreams stop you! I totally believe in your talent and I know first hand what an amazing artist and writer you are. Don't let go of those dreams please! Maybe since you graduated the timing wasn't right to fulfill your dreams, but you never know when the right timing will hit you will have an open door for your talents to shine and thrive. Fight for it ok!

Reading about your childhood and school years was so interesting. I didn't have the same experience. I went to a private school where creativity was highly valued and I thrived in that environment, but once I was forced to go to public school my life was hard. I had the same experience as you, and even in PE class. I always thought I was bad at math and excelled in music, art and writing, in that order. I won first chairs in music, had my art in shows and won the “Young Authors Award” for my elementary school. I always thought I was bad at math, because it was harder for me then the other subjects. I have learned however that I am not bad at math at all. In my job, I am one of the 3% of the word that actually uses math in my career. I have found that I am really great at math, just applied math, not "class room" math. I have to have a reason to do the math in order to like it.

I was always good at horseback riding and skiing, so I know that I am not totally unfortunate in physical activities, but I was always picked last for PE sports teams. It was humiliating and sad.

I used to hate my glasses in school and my "nerd" status, but now later in life I have embraced it and been happier for it. The "nerd" or "smart" look (kind of like the blonde German coffee house look) is much better to combat my "dumb blonde" and "cute voice" stereo-types that seem to curse me. I might as well fight a stereo-type with a stereo-type.

You know, as the dreams I had as a child of being a great musician or music teacher or artists, or vet have faded, I find that I just adopted a new dream of being good at my job which is dominated by men. I find just as much happiness doing that as playing music, so I ended up just changing my dreams. Who knew I would end up in a situation so totally different then I planned.

Laura said...

My favorite subjects were always:
1. biology/life sciences including zoology, botany and marine biology
2. reading/literature (favorite authors, CS Lewis, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe
3. creative writing/poetry
4. drama/theatre

Least favorite subjects:

So... it's not hard to see why it was difficult for me to get a college degree in science.

Elizabeth C. said...

Our school histories sound quite similar! I've always loved to read and was one of those kids you'd find under a desk or up in a tree reading a book. And there were many books (and still are!) that I would read over and over again. My Dad just could never understand that! ; ) So as you might guess, my favorite subject in school was always English/Literature. I also loved Choir.

Math and P.E. were my least favorites too. When I was a senior in High School, plagued with "senioritis", I got a C in P.E. because I refused to dress out. We had a P.E. teacher who made us dress out, came out of her office to take roll, and then went back into her office leaving us to talk amongst ourselves for the entire hour!!! Since my next class was Drill Team and I had to dress out again, I just didn't bother in P.E. class on many days. Needless to say, my parents were none to happy about that "C", so I got my act together and wore my P.E. clothes the following semester! : )

D.L. White said...

Kathleen - thanks for the compliments and words of encouragement. We'll see what the future holds.

Also - we've talked about this before but I gotta say it again - I think I would have loved going to that private school!

There's nothing more humiliating than being picked last for teams, huh? I know that feeling.

That's funny you've ended up in a job where you use math. I've broaded my view of what kind of job I want - I think dream job = a job you love. Just like you say.

Laura - Didn't know we had so many favorite authors in common! Very cool! Shawn got me "Lisey's Story" for Christmas but I haven't started on it yet.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you want to use the biology/science degree to be a researcher, vet, teacher...?

Elizabeth - Yep! A girl after my own heart! It would drive my mom nuts that I could just sit and read for hours. (She's an energetic busy person.) And she never understood how I could re-read stuff either. Up until recently, I'd read "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens at least once a year. It's one of my favorite books.

Also - you have something in common with my dear husband. He got an F in P.E. because he refused to dress out too! He spent that hour every day in the principle's office. lol

The Trousered Ape said...

Ah is true - I did receive an F in PE one year. Actually, that was the last time I was ever in public school. The following year, all the way until I graduated high school I attended private schools. Probably the only thing that saved my academic career.

Unfortunately, while I breezed through school I struggled something terrible in college. I was one of those people in high school who never had to crack a book and could whip out an A in a class. I had a really, really good memory at the time so I rarely ever had need to study. That did me a huge disservice by the time I tried college. My study habits were zero - you have to study for everything. Plus, it also didn't help that some of the classes I had in college had more students in one class than I had had in my entire high school. That was intimidating. I typically do much better in small class room settings (I'm needy - I need one on one time with the instructor) and if the class is really hard. The harder the class - the better the grade. The easier the class, I have to struggle not to get an F. Boredom is not a friend...

But since then I've done a lot of growing up and I know now what I am interested in. I've been amazed that even in my entry level Philosophy class I'm staying focused and engaged with it. It is pretty easy, but the difference this time is I am much more interested in watching others feel their way through the concepts - it is quiet fascinating and holds my attention rather well.


Jesica said...

Favs: Theatre, Journalism, English Literature, Lunch

Ouch: Math, Science

When I was a Jr. in High School, I was in a competitive one act play, and Ross Perot (still don't like him) had just been instrumental in getting the "No Pass, No Play" rule passed in the Texas public schools.

So, I was working my TAIL off to pass Geometry ( which I STILL don't get!) and Biology...and I still only made a 70 in one and a 71 in the other. (That was passing at the time!)

I believe to this day that my teachers just gave it to me because they knew how hard I was trying, and that I'd NEVER end up using either skill set, and they wanted me to be able to compete.

I still love those teachers to this day! And, I still get hives when I think about trying to do geometry!


D.L. White said...

Hey Jesica! Geometry was a mystery to me too! I feel your pain! :P