Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ditch Days and Making A's

Somewhere along the way, I became a front row kind of girl.  Upon entering a classroom, I would take a quick inventory of the seating options and more often than not, would gravitate to the seat closest to the professor.  Of course, it wasn't always this way. 

From kindergarten through my freshman year of high school, I didn't see much of a point in making the grade.  

Whether making an A+ or a D-,  it just didn't seem to matter either way.  Math class was a perfect opportunity to exchange notes with my friends, and in history class, I would stare off blankly at the wall for a solid hour.  I'm sure some of the major bullet points stuck with me, but the overall day in and day out academic process was nothing short of a giant snooze-fest.  

One day, I was called into a meeting toward the end of the ninth grade.  My academic counselor asked me what I was interested in doing one day for a living.  He asked which colleges I was interested in and so on.  At that time, I recall having a keen interest in animal sciences and thought that someday, I might want to be a vet. 

After letting me go on for about twenty minutes about my love for animals and how I thought I would be a good vet one day, he took a long pause and read over my report card from the previous semester.  C, C, D, F, C... My bright future was looking more and more like an eternal rainy day.  And my options, well... let's just say they were dwindling.

He informed me that if I was going to have even the slightest prayer of getting into college in three years, I was going to have to turn things around really quickly.  I didn't have much time to make up for the first year of high school, whereby I goofed off and simply did not try.

I am happy to report that eventually, I was able to successfully balance studying with having a good time.  And I figured out that if I made straight A's, I would actually have more leverage when it came to  doing things on my time.  

For instance, if I saw an opportunity to take a detour on my way to school and accidentally end up at the beach for an early lunch: who could punish me, if I was making the grade?  

It was one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned.  I call it the honors loophole.  When I graduated with honors from LMU, no one seemed to remember the ditch days that magically went off record.  

But I can honestly say, I'm not sure that I would have been able to keep my sanity throughout my entire academic career, if it weren't for those few days where I went off the grid, so to speak.  If you earn enough credibility and honor, you're then afforded certain exceptions.  

It has been many years since I sat in a classroom.  But I can tell you that I ended up with quite an education.  At the end of the day, I really did value my academic studies.  And becoming an honors student gave me the kind of self confidence I didn't even know was possible. 

But I am also grateful to those people who let me do it in my own way and in my own time: my mom especially.  

My mom is the zen master of balancing work and play and is single-handedly the most instrumental person in my life.  She had faith in my ability to put myself back on track if necessary.  I remember her slick way of gently re-directing me to that aim.  It was so subtle that it was almost like a Jedi mind-trick.  She would take me to school, but somehow, if the weather was just right, we would keep on going.  She could tell when I was getting burnt out and needed a break.  

A good ditch-day never hurt anyone, when not abused or taken to excess.  Staring out the window of the front seat, I would think, Uh oh, I'm going to miss something important today at school.  And as if my mom was reading my thoughts, she would tell me to not worry, I would make it up and get back on track.  

I do believe life works in a very similar way.  Take it seriously enough to want to do your very best.  Serve your potential and make the grade.  And if you are truly doing your best, have enough faith in yourself to allow for a few ditch days. 

The balance of work and play doesn't go away upon graduation.  It is a lifelong struggle.  Feeling guilty for taking a nap, or the occasional ditch day is not so healthy.  

Some of the greatest innovators of our time were the kids who sat in the back row.  I for one, am proud to have fallen somewhere in the middle.  But the honor loophole is under constant construction and care.  It's a fine line.  

Tomorrow I head back to work. After a few ditch-days away, I can honestly say I feel refreshed and ready to slap on a smile.  It is important to do my best at whatever I do; including having fun.

I will forever have my mom to thank for that.   


Birthday Cake Martini

1 1/2 oz Pinnacle Cake Vodka or Three Olives Cake Vodka
1 tsp. of dry cake mix
1/2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 oz of Half and Half Creamer
Shake and strain
Rim glass with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles.


No comments:

Post a Comment