Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Midnight Oil

You may not know this about me, but I was a pretty good student. I know. Hard to believe. Especially given the greeting I was by my high school counselor "Oh, you're Shawn/Todd's sister....so, when ya gonna drop out?". [Note: Both of my brothers have gone on to be pretty darn successful in their life, after a few little obstacles to overcome, I am very very proud of them]. Regardless they left a lot to be desired as far as someone following them through school. Anyway, I was in "honor" classes and I did just fine (my more mature self is now horrified that such distinctions as "honor classes" are even made....that's another blog post for another day). Fact of the matter is, I did nearly as well as Blaine, which is quite comical if you consider our different approaches to school.
About a week after our first essay was due in AP English our teacher thought it wise to read us an example of a really good essay and an essay that could use some work (I think she called it a "disgraceful" essay). Turns out she read Blaine's essay as the good example and my essay as the bad example. And the end of the year she took us all out in to the hall individually and told us if she thought we would do well on the AP test. I peeked through the keyhole when Blaine went out there, as soon as the door shut behind him he and the teacher just looked at each other and laughed and busted open some oreos. Of course he was going to ace the test. When I went out she had a somewhat somber look on her face .... "I hate to tell you this but.....I am not 100% sure you should even take the test". Well I sure showed her. In the end Blaine got a 5 (highest you can get), and I got a 4. Boo-yeah.
The thing is, he and I take a different approach to school. I am more of a "Laissez-faire" type person. I am very motivated by deadlines, but usually not until the deadline is...say... 12 hours away or less. Blaine is quite the opposite. I remember his first semester at BYU he came home one day and was working on a paper, he was quite stressed about it and I later found out it was a three page paper that was due more than a month from the time. Three pages? Puh-lease. I don't start those until two hours before they are due. He drew up drafts of that thing, did several rewrites, sent it to relatives to proof read, etc. Whoa. Opposites attract I guess.
This strategy of mine only became a problem my last semester of college when I was taking 400 level courses in Sociology. I would go to class, try really hard to listen, but man, it was like the professor was speaking gibberish. Anyway, somehow through all of his mumbo jumbo I got that we were supposed to write a 30 page paper on how Modern Jihadism related to the feminist movement. Yabbity whobity whatty? Oh well, four months to mull that one over. This also happened to be the semester that Gwen was conceived and consequently the semester I became familiar with all of the restroom stalls/garbage cans on campus. Who had time to worry about Jihadism. So, yup, I wrote my thirty page paper the day before it was due. When I got it back the teachers notes were pretty sad, he very nicely said that my paper was a strange combination between plagiary and nonsense. Exactly. Comparing Jihadism with the feminist movement is nonsense and it was a lot of work even finding someones thoughts to plagiarize. Sheesh. Give me some credit.
So what does this have to do with you and my life in the here and now? Well, nothing really to do with you (other than I apologize because I still do not believe in proof reading and that's got to be annoying for you). Well, Gwen had a homework assignment due for the first day of class. Five pages on construction paper where we were supposed to glue pictures of herself, her pets, her house, whatever. Fine. Sounds easy. I can slap some pictures on there and have her color something. Gwen and Blaine stayed home sick from church on Sunday and I left them with the simple task to do Gwen's homework. When I got home I was thrilled to hear that they spent the whole time working on it. "Let's see it!" I said eagerly. Blaine glanced nervously around "well, there's nothing to actually see yet". "Uhhh. What?". He showed me that they had a rough draft of their ideas for what would go on each page and had narrowed down our selection of pictures (for these five pages) to a mere 100.
Needless to say, we didn't finish Gwen's homework in time. Blaine wanted thoroughness, and I wanted to comply but I am such a dang procrastinator. My daughter is doomed to failure because a perfectionist married a lazy person, and the lazy one is the one that stays home and has a deep fear of disappointing her perfectionist.
Maybe I don't have to be too concerned though because when all was said and done, I graduated with a better GPA then Blaine. Let that be known (hmmmm.....Electrical Engineering vs. Sociology....that's a fair comparison, right?).


Sheyenne said...

I just love how you write. You always have this great buildup to the end of your stories that leaves me feeling like I know you just that much better. I'm also of the procrastinating type, but I only do it long enough that I can still do a good job. (Or what I consider a good job.) Definitely not the rough draft for preschool assignment type.

Strong Family - said...

You rock Kristi. I am SO the procrastinating type when it comes to writing papers or um...preparing lessons. And editing? Why do you need that if you write a great paper without it? :-) But you know what - once I tried to write a paper way ahead of time and had it edited, blah, blah, blah. Worst grade I'd received in the class. So I'm with ya.

Kristina said...

Loved reading this post. You and Blaine do fit together really well. I remember Ms. Woodward coming into our calculus class right before the AP exam and saying "If you really want a challenging class, you should have taken AP English. Pretty much everyone passes the calculus exam." I think the fact that everyone passes the calculus exam at Granger was more of an indication of Mr. Clawson's teaching abilities than the easiness of the subject--but of course I didn't tell Ms. Woodward that. She already had enough reasons not to like me. :)


Megan Kroff said...

It's good for these kids to have complete opposites to pattern their lives after. Maybe they'll turn out right, eh? Our house has the same problem. Except I would be the guilty perfectionist; Justin the laid back one. Seven years later we're rubbing off on eachother quite a bit--it's good for us all!

Robin said...

Loved reading this. Laughed at the "busting out the oreos" part. And the other parts, too. And here's a confession - if your fancy site meter doesn't give you specifics - I think I visit your site every day. Every DAY! I wish, wish, wish, wish, wish I'd gotten to know you better when we actually lived next door to each. Now I just have to look at the "little red dot" in Texas and sigh wistfully about the distance. ALso, the word verification for posting this comment is "canoli". Weird. Why doesn't the computer just come clean and use the real word?