January 25, 2010

Testing One, Two

Some people love school. Some people would love to stay in school for the rest of their lives. Some, in fact, do. They jump from high school to college to a masters program to a doctorate only emerging after their walls are covered in sheepskin. I admire those people and appreciate them because they are smarter than me and I need them. But I am not, my any stretch of the imagination, one of them.

I spent elementary school bored, day dreaming about junior high. I spent junior high in much the same way, focusing on my high school future. High school was just as boring academically but more fun socially. I was an average student, graduating with a 3.0 (or maybe a few hundredths of a point lower due to an unfortunate algebra class). College was spent, largely, in the apartment I shared with Beth. I skipped a few classes. As a result, I still have dreams in which I find myself heading to a final for a class I've never actually attended (and in many cases didn't think I was signed up for in the first place). I emerged from college with 3.0 (brought down by an rather unfortunate geology class because who knew geology could actually be hard?).

When college graduation rolled around (which, consistent with my college track record, I did not attend), I shot a backward glance over my shoulder, waved, and said goodbye to my career as a student. Never again would I have to study, write a paper, or take a test.

Boy was I wrong. In a couple of minutes, I've got to get my coffee-starved self behind the wheel of the Cactusmobile (which makes my VW wagon sound way cooler than it actually is) and go to class. I'm in professional training all week. And then I get to take a test on it on Friday.

To say that I'm a reluctant test taker is like saying that Elton John is a wee bit gay. Or that Jay Leno has an exaggerated chin. I dislike test taking with the passion of a thousand suns. I'm not sure why. I like to think that I'm a smart guy. But I think I doubt that sometimes and I'm afraid to take opportunities in which I can prove such intelligence for fear the opposite will be proven.

Regardless, I'm off. I'm off to wear a name tag, drink cheap hotel coffee and be reminded of how much I don't know or have forgotten. Luckily, I'll have a couple coworkers there with me. And my iPhone. So open up the comments and keep me entertained. First one to make me nose coffee in the middle of the training course wins my undying gratitude.

Posted by Chris at January 25, 2010 7:05 AM

Do you know the hymn "Abide O Dearest Jesus"? It goes: Abide O dearest Jesus, Among us with your grace, that Satan may not harm us....

Anyways, when I was a wee tot being drug to church by my parents, I always thought among was a verb and had this mental image of Jesus with a fairy wand, amonging us with his grace.

Hope your training goes well!

Posted by: Michele at January 25, 2010 7:36 AM

I was very similar to you in school. Bored bored bored.... Especially in college, though I did quite well in my geology class, it was a Philosophy class that messed me up.... I didn't go to my college graduation either. (It was either that or my brother's wedding) I'm shocked I didn't hear you what I heard all through school "She's very very smart, but she doesn't apply herself." Yeah, I had a life. I was smart and didn't feel the need to prove it on paper. To this day I see the people who had the top grades, and none of them really did anything with their lives anyway. I may not be working now, but when I was I was VERY successful.... I HATED school. I HATE sitting through trainings that bore you to sleep. And the ones in the hotels are the worst because the rooms are either too hot or too cold or you get stuck sitting next to the moron who asks 5,000 questions and has B.O. Though let's see if you "nose coffee" and if you do can I get video? You've got a fancy iPhone, I'm sure you can do it! LOL! {HUGS} You're gonna need them!

Posted by: Rose Winters at January 25, 2010 7:43 AM

Ok...the hotel coffee might TASTE cheap but, as a meeting planner, I can assure you that it is anything but cheap. Here in the little ol' rural state I live in we have to pay minimum of $34/gallon for coffee when we have a conference at a hotel (and I have a conference on average once a month). I spend way too much time in a hotel...thankfully they are different ones or the management might mistake me for a hooker. ;)

Posted by: daisy at January 25, 2010 8:23 AM

I'm one of those people that loved school. I wish could stay in school forever. Unfortunately, my love of school is doing me zero good in real life. School is too expensive to attend forever, and I already have one totally useless masters degree (which I'll be paying off for the next 27 years). So, I'm stuck in my job, saving my pennies, and dreaming of the day when I can retire and go back to being a full-time student.

(I should say that, while I am talking wistfully about retirement, I am 27.)

Posted by: Melody at January 25, 2010 8:50 AM

I always head to The Onion for coffee spewing...

Posted by: fauve at January 25, 2010 8:53 AM

In the course of reading your post I flung a spoon of oatmeal and banana at myself for no good reason and dropped the cover of my yogurt upside down onto my desk. I have a master's degree. Who's the smart one now? :)

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 25, 2010 9:23 AM

My worst professional training was at my short-lived gig as a technical writer. I was employed to write slot machine repair manuals and had to go to slot machine repair class with all the grease monkeys. On the morning break of day three, I saw my very first gray hair on my head in the flourescent light of the hotel bathroom. I screamed, literally. Scared the piss out of everyone on the pot. Quit the job 2 months later. I was 27 at the time. Wah!

Posted by: rebecca at January 25, 2010 10:19 AM

I hate work training. HATE. IT. BUt I would LOVE to go back to graduate school. Sigh. But in order to do that, I have to take the GRE and I've completely forgotten how to do algebra.

In other news, I spent an entire first date talking about the Bubonic Plague and the kind of boils that grow under your armpits.

I'm such a keeper.

Posted by: k8 at January 25, 2010 10:37 AM

Any encouragement you need, let me know. I KNOW THE FEELING. :)

Posted by: alektra at January 25, 2010 11:24 AM

I liked school primarily for the social aspect (not that I was Miss Popularity, but I sure miss seeing my friends every day), but also for the schedule, and I do like to learn. I was an A student through high school, but more of a B- student in college.

Chris, there are people in the world smarter than we are, but all those letters after someone's name don't mean he or she is smarter. Take, for example, my ex-husband Bob (or Robert, as he has recently restyled himself) (http://robertcargill.com/), who has his HS diploma, an AA, a BS, an MS, MA, and MDiv as well as a PhD. He has graduated with the doctorate, but he works at a university. Anyway, he's not smarter than I, who have only a lowly BA; he's just read different books.

Posted by: Brooke at January 25, 2010 11:40 AM

I wish I had the attention span for school. Meh.

Posted by: statia at January 25, 2010 11:45 AM

Funny, at my school geology was one of my science credits, incrediby boring, but its unofficial name was Rocks for Jocks, and it was a breeze. I don't really have a great story for you, but I will tell you that David inadvertently taught Jake how to swear while watching the Redskins this season. Now Jake (few days younger than Owen) growls "damn it" whenever he can't get his socks on. I am so proud.

Posted by: Stacie at January 25, 2010 1:52 PM

My High School years were spent more as a social time. I really was bored to death in class.
Then I got married and pregnant right away and never had time or money for college.
Just this weekend I decided to go back to school and study computer science. If I do well, I will go for first my associates degree and on to my bachelors.
Funny that it took me 51 years to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!

Posted by: Maribeth at January 25, 2010 2:06 PM

I am a lifetime student. I have the BA, MA, and am ABD (all but dissertation) towards my PhD. I definitely know people smarter than me without letters after their name. I love school and love teaching at the university level; therefore, I had to get my PhD to get a full-time job.

Posted by: Krush at January 25, 2010 2:19 PM

I have the same dream about taking a final in a class I completely forgot I signed up for. It's always History. And Geology totally kicked my a$$ in real life. Of course, it would have helped if maybe I'd shown up more often, and I don't know, studied. On the bright side, I haven't had any random geological knowledge taking up precious real estate in my brain all these years, other than Hawaii is a volcanic hotspot. My kid and husband were dubious and then impressed when I whipped that little gem out, so I guess it was worth it. That's probably also the only question I got right on the final.

Posted by: Jenn at January 25, 2010 2:27 PM

Your GPA is still way better than mine, and I'm apparently a perennial student. The hard part of it is, I have to have my master's to do what I want to do. Right now, I'm just slogging through to finish my BA.

Posted by: Heather at January 25, 2010 2:33 PM

In less than a year I will have a Master's degree. I think the world is moving towards a "lifelong learner" mentality. I think the notion that you are ever "done" learning is gone.

Posted by: Kristy at January 25, 2010 4:28 PM

hmmm, school, I went for the boys, no i am not going to apologize...after jr. high it was all about the boys parents wanted me to go further but i saved them a shit load of money by doing my own thing. Which has seen me in a multitude of jobs in the past 20 years, everything from retail, tourism, banking, to managing a clubhouse at a golf course. Now I am researching and writing a book on our local history....experience in that....nada...lol..but I have loved the majority of my jobs, and when i get bored i move on...thankfully hubby is totally supportive of my quest for the best job??...career???....and he has a very good job that allows this foolishness....lol as for the nose coffee...sorry.....i'm a boring canadian...lmao....cheers!!!! and good luck

Posted by: Roberta at January 25, 2010 7:25 PM

Chris, Good luck and just remember your a smart dude. Don't let this test send you into a panic. It is just a test, relax and do your best. My son keeps asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had to fess up to having no idea. If time and $ weren't an obstacle, my hubby would take classes forever. He loves that environment. He'd probably make a good professor.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at January 25, 2010 7:46 PM

You know, I skipped a lot of classes in college... still managed to get a few degrees. But I have evil dreams where I am woefully unprepared for a class assignment and/or test.

Posted by: Nat at January 25, 2010 10:28 PM

I am a college professor. I can assure you that adding letters to your name is not correlated with being smart.

And, if it makes you feel better, I don't have the nightmares about forgetting about a test any more - but, I do periodically have nightmares about walking into a class to teach something I know nothing about and discovering that my course notebook (with notes on the lecture) is empty.

I'd rather fail a test in a quiet room anonymously than have to stand like a big boob in from of a class and blather that I have nothing to say.

Posted by: K at January 27, 2010 2:26 PM

Too bad I missed this, I'd have definitely made you nose coffee during the test. Anyhow Im glad you passed.

Posted by: jessica at February 4, 2010 4:13 PM