Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Speaking of Opportunities...

Most weekday nights, since last fall, there are 5 people doing homework in this house. Me, the Kid, and 3 young gentlemen. The young men are sons of family friends whose parents asked if we could tutor them to help bring up their grades as a couple of them were failing classes, and one was on the brink (2 are brothers, the other is their friend). Unhesitatingly, we said yes. We started off with just the 2 brothers, and added the 3rd guy midway through the second quarter.

When the guys first started coming over, it was obvious that they were only here because they HAD to be here. If given their choice, they'dve stayed home for sure (and I can't blame them). But as time has gone on, the change in both themselves and their grades has been nothing short of awesome. It could be our insistence on high standards--they were happy with D's, but I told them that anything less than a C is unacceptable. It could be that they just needed somebody to care who isn't their parents. Either way, it's working. Nobody got below a C- this term, and 1 almost made the B Honor Roll. For the first time EVER. [edited to update: the younger brother ended up getting 2 D's...but we'll let him live. For now.]

A couple of nights ago, the 2 older ones were talking about their futures. They're both juniors this year, and thought that because their GPA's were so messed up from an assortment of low and/or failing grades that they didn't have a whole lot of options. It was interesting listening to them talk about it all. One wants to go into the Army after high school, the other doesn't know what he wants, but is pretty sure he doesn't want to go into the military. I told them both that their GPA's are high enough to get them into a community college, and if they did well enough, they could transfer to a university after. Right now, though, that's beyond their ken.

As I was turning that conversation over in my head later that night, I realized that I really am lucky to have this second chance at a college education. It's not so much that I'll be a 'real' librarian, no, it's more that by having a degree, so many more doors are open for me. When I was younger, my mom told me that it's every generation's wish and duty to push the next generation just a bit further than where the family was now. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college. For me, then, it was never a question of "if you're going to college", it was a "when you go to college". And the same goes for my daughter. She's really smart and will have colleges and universities (and probably the military) actively trying to recruit her. Her opportunities, at this point, are vast. And, it doesn't hurt that she's looking at going into environmental engineering either.

So, yeah. I hate homework, always have, probably always will. But, man almighty am I glad for what I'll get out of it all--a nice diploma at the end. No guarantees, true, but a whole lot of opportunities.