Most subjects in school I failed to master. When I look back at my time in high school, I see now that I pretty much flitted through my days, doing as little as necessary to pass with acceptable grades. I got a fair number of high grades in subjects that came easy to me–French, English, social studies. I did poorly in math and science. There were a few electives that I did well in, but for the most part, I guess I mastered Stephen King novels and Seventeen magazine, Beatles and John Lennon music appreciation, and popular film appreciation.
The hardest subject I had was Physics. It should have been interesting. I should have done better. Heck, that teacher actually put together hands-on experiments to demonstrate the concepts he was trying to enlighten us with. And he was pretty cool. He’s the one that pulled the television into class when the space shuttle exploded, and we spent the class watching the footage and talking about what we thought it might mean to the space program. That was interesting. But, I couldn’t be bothered then to read or do my homework, and I was always lost when it was time to do the experiments. I was probably that student that no one wanted to be partnered with because I was so bad. And I was so uninvolved in the class, I didn’t even realize it at the time.
If I had to go back today and take the class, I’d be a much different student. High school was pretty much wasted on me. I had to get out into the world, and suffer a little before I realized what I’d squandered. I wish I could say I would do things differently if I could go back in time to my younger days and do over, but I know myself well enough now to realize that I’d probably do things pretty much the same. Some people you can tell what the outcome will be for their actions, but unless they go through the motions themselves, they just won’t get it. I had plenty of people tell me if I didn’t buckle down, do better, live up to my potential, I’d fail to get into college, I’d fail to have a good career, I’d end up earning hardly anything. But I didn’t believe them.
And it all played out differently than the picture they painted too. They painted a bleak picture of me dressed in rags, pushing a broom or flipping burgers, broke and sad and bitter in the end. I had a pretty good life, full of adventures of a sort, traveled some, met cool people, did some interesting things, worked at interesting jobs, and finally saw a few dreams come true. And today, I am interested in Physics, Chemistry, and Math–but not because I want to be a scientist or a mathematician. I’m interested because I can see there are connections between things I’m interested in that a knowledge of these disciplines would enhance.