Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I tried to pay attention, honest I did

There is lots of talk about exams in school at this time of year and listening to the chatter sent me for a ride down memory lane and my own battles with high school tests.
As the moment of cranial challenging drew near, I would hunker down and spend days studying. Well, maybe not days, perhaps it was more like hours. Well, maybe not hours, perhaps an hour.
Well, perhaps I just read through my notes while having breakfast the morning of the test.
Not the best study techniques, but they worked. OK, they didn’t work, but I still managed to graduate.
And my grades were amazing, as in it is amazing I passed.
I was not exactly the most dedicated student. I had what you might call focus issues.
Pretty much every report card I ever had in my entire life read, “…would do much better if he did not day dream so much.”
You see, back then it was called day dreaming, where a student had a hard time focusing on the task at hand. I would get distracted by birds in a tree outside, bugs crawling across the floor, shiny things – whatever happened to be going on other than school work always seemed to grab my much-divided attention.
It is no longer called day dreaming. Today it is has a label like ADD – attention deficit disorder, or ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or IDRCD – I don’t really care disorder.
I am pretty sure I suffered from the first disorder on the list, and as the school years progressed I morphed into the last disorder.
Looking back, I am sure with the right medication, counselling and large enough bribe I could have achieved much better grades.
That’s not to say I am dumb, I just suffered from a lack of enthusiasm for school.
Although I am sure a few people who read my column on a regular basis will opt for the dumb defence.
They are likely sitting back, mug of coffee in hand thinking, “That explains a lot.”
But if I was interested in something, I knew pretty much all there was to know about it. I can remember going to motorcycle shops and telling the salesman things about the bikes they were selling that they didn’t even know, but ask me to do some algebra and I would stare at you like you were speaking Swahili.
A few days after every school exam the results were posted on a wall in the hallway outside of the classroom. That was yet another brilliant and diabolical scheme by the teachers to highlight the under achievers – and it worked very well.
One time, I remember lining up to check the results when a girl in front of me burst into tears and ran down the hall. I looked up her grade to learn she was devastated she got a mere B-plus in one particular course. It was the first time in 11 years of education she had received anything lower than an A.
Meanwhile, I am doing back flips down the hallway because I pulled off a mighty C in the same class. I guess it is all a matter perspective.
By the time I made it to college I realized diligent study was needed, and I actually cracked the books (and the occasional beer) and knuckled down to do some serious studying.
I don’t think anyone was more surprised than I was with the results. In two years of post-secondary education, my lowest grade was a B.
Perhaps if I had applied myself more in high school I would have…hey, look at that dog.

Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh

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