January 22, 2001
Mother and Father do know best
is associate editor/designer
of the Emory Report.
Remember the student in your class who asked for extra-extra credit assignments,
stressed over open-book pop quizzes and wanted a 100 instead of a 99.5
on book reports? I do, because I was that student.
That student was probably the butt of a lot of your jokes and probably
really, really annoyed you.
My parents, Carol and Ed, were always telling me to calm down and take
everything in stride. They couldnt get over how obsessive-compulsive
I was about my grades. When I had a B in Geometry, I put myself on a self-imposed
restriction. No phone, no TV. Ok, so the phone moratorium lasted about
an hour. I was a 16-year-old girl What did you expect?
I know my parents thought I was crazy. They told me so and then laughed.
Then they dispensed with the advice.
Carol, the educator, said that teachers are human and generally pretty
patient people; they accept mistakes and know that students arent
expected to be perfect. Education is supposed to be enjoyed, not dreaded,
she said. Of course, I didn't believe her.
Ed, a former teacher, agreed with Mom and said that as a student, you
have a level of responsibility to meet. You have to hold up your end of
the bargain and realize that it is your job to be a student, he would
say. Do the best job you can, and you'll be rewarded in the long run.
Yeah, whatever. It had been 20-plus years since he'd been in school, and
even then, he had some issues with passing Spanish in high school and
in college. I quickly disregarded his advice.
Ive had a few years to step back and reflect on my academic past,
and yes, I now see exactly what Carol and Ed were saying. Better yet,
I can actually can appreciate it. During high school and a large part
of college, I was so worn out from constantly trying to achieve what I
deemed perfection, that I really missed out on the whole point
of education: to simply learn, and to enjoy doing it.
While in school, I did learn a lot, but in many cases, I learned things
just to get a good grade. Thats not the purpose of it at all. I
didnt realize that I didnt have to be an expert in every field.
I didnt see that I needed to focus on my talents and interests and
to build my education around those attributes instead of striving for
the honor roll every semester.
I eventually figured everything out, but it was almost too late. My senior
year of college, I learned to have fun with school and in my role as a
student. And I eventually realized just how right my parents advice
was. (But, of course, I havent told told them that yet.)
Starting this semester, I get to actually use their handy advice once
again, and I'm definitely going to follow it word for wordwith a
few minor additions. If all goes as planned, Ill be taking my first
class as an Emory student (in special standing) this semester, complete
with required textbooks, no. 2 pencils and highlighters, thanks to the
Courtesy Scholarship program.
Im hoping to eventually pursue my masters degree in educational
studies, and I am in the application process right now. Im prepping
to take the dreaded Graduate Record Exam (GRE) soon and have spent the
last few weeks reviewing everything I spent almost 20 years learning.
My class meets for the first time this week, and I've been getting ready,
buying textbooks (not as exciting when you, not your parents, are buying
them) and making a game-plan of sorts for my upcoming semester. As much
as Im excited about being a student again, Im also pretty
But I think everything will work out fine if I follow two things: my
parents advice and a list of reminders Ive created for myself,
which I think are pretty much applicable to my life as a returning student
and as a person. They are as follows:
Always take notes.
Be they mental or in a notebook, taking notes can only stand to benefit
you. Sure, some of the stuff you may already know or it could be entirely
useless but it never hurts to simply pay attention to what someone else
is saying. Documenting the information you know youll see again
or put to use is the best thing you can do.
Dont wait to the last
minute. Weve all been guilty of thiswhether it
be sending a bill in late to Georgia Power or going to the mall to do
Christmas shopping on Dec. 24but it really does no good. You stress
out for no reason and hence your work or task is invariably flawed.
Most of my questions are due to the fact that I havent read all
of the instructions. Its also the reason I had a lot of parts left
over when I installed my own mini-blinds, but thats another issue
Dont ever give up.
If you give up, youll never know what youre missing. Just
because it didnt happen the first or fifth time doesnt mean
its never going to happen. Dont be discouraged by rejection.
There are far other more taxing issues to tolerate in life than failing
or not getting what you want. It never hurts to try again. (Remind me
of this after I take the GRE!)
I never used to put a lot of stock in the old saying, If I knew
then what I know now, but now its become my mantra of sorts.
Over the next semester, Ill be one of the lucky ones to see if that
thought holds some validity.