I was bad at math in school. I mean, really bad. I managed to graduate, and to pass enough of the SAT to get into college (barely.)
I had taken as much college everything else as I could take before they mandated that I start taking my math components. I told them I didn't like math. Those evil souls said I had to take it, anyway. I took a pre-test to determine what I knew. It confirmed my worst fears. I got 12 out of 66 questions right. Eeek.
So, it was into remedial courses for me. I spent most of the first remedial semester overcoming my dread and preconceptions. What I found out was that I learn in a different way. All of a sudden, it was like having a light turned on. I was able to grasp polynomials, and variables, and other concepts.
By the second remedial semester, I was ruining the grade curve. Me! The truly sad part is that I was learning exactly what they had tried to teach me in high school.
It is part of what I try to teach now. The stuff you are exposed to in high school is practice for the real thing. That applies not only to the coursework, but to the rest of it as well. Think about clothes: High school is where you start trying out stuff to see what feels good to your psyche and your skin.
It is a great place to experiment, because you can always say that you were 'in a phase.' In high school, I had mall hair. That was the stuff that had been curled, teased, and hairsprayed to withstand gale force winds. I've gotten past that now.
High school is also where you start forming alliances. If you're smart, you're starting to create a network of both kids and adults that supports you and gets you where you want to be. If you're not so smart, you hang with yard dogs and pick up fleas.
I still stay in touch with some of my classmates from a million years ago. We mostly communicate by e-mail. The important thing is that we can find each other when we need to get in touch.
You start realizing what issues you care about in high school. I was always a bit of a socio-political critter, even then. I should have been more conscious of developing that; Governor Rodgers wouldn't have sounded half bad. I also started writing articles in high school. I used to cover high school sports for Henry County Senior High when the Daily Herald was the Weekly Advertiser.
The thing that brought all this to mind this morning was a program-results report that I had to do for my state headquarters. This fancy, schmancy report wound up being ten pages long. I had references, quotes, and nifty pictures, all in a spiffy format.
In a flash, it hit me that I had learned to do this in high school! You do book reports in high school. You do term papers in college. You do a thesis in graduate school. Those strategic, annual, and quarterly reports are just an extension of what you ought to have learned way back then.
Denese Rodgers is the director of Connecting Henry. Her column appears on Wednesdays. She can be reached at (770) 288-6230 or at firstname.lastname@example.org