Monday, November 29, 2004

Studying Oceanography

Son: "Why do you think I need to study oceanography, dad?"
Dad: "Because your math grade is below C-level, son."

When I was in school, I was the smart one - saying that as modestly as I can. My brother isn't stupid, wasn't back then either, but I always felt like more was expected out of me (and this'll probably spur a post on his blog, too). My parents never pressured me to make straight-As, just to do my best and they would come. I graduated top-ten in my high school class, got 1370 on my SATs, went to college on what amounted to a full scholarship - really, without doing my best, without exerting that much effort. College then kicked my hiney - I got my first Ds for final grades by my sophomore year, and it was downhill from there. I graduated with a respectable 2.68 gpa, or something like that - and I knew personally that it was not my best. I didn't work that hard, did a bunch of things half-hearted and last-minute, and it started to show as time went on. My study habits sucked, and when I found that I could get by and not necessarily have to show up for class, I could always find (pool) something (student center) else (movies) to (daytime TV) do.

So today, my son has brought home a D on a math test. If I ever slacked off on anything, it wasn't math. If anything, I grew into one of those weird right/left brain people, doing about equal on the verbal and math sides of standardized testing. But math - I mean, I'm a programmer, doing math and logic and statistics all the time. Never mind that I can't balance my checkbook or that I pulled out of Econ-101 before pulling an F. I still aced most of my math courses, and expect that my son and daughter.... will do their best.

I'm not going to pressure him - not yet anyway. But I do hope that we help him this week - massive 15-page packet of stuff to do for homework because of the low score - to figure out what's important, and that laziness is no excuse. Hopefully he'll learn in third grade what I (hopefully) figured out in college. And hopefully it'll mean something - good study habits stay with you a long long time.


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