Are We There Yet????

No, this isn’t going to be a post about traveling at all. It’s a post about school. You see, I have my review tomorrow for the MFA program I’m in and I’m so nervous I could chew all my nails off before the night is through. To be completely honest, I should be grateful I’m in school. Many people don’t get to go and that’s really sad if they want or need to. But I have a confession to make. I really don’t like school much. I never have. I’ve just been very good at it and it seems to like me.

Now, don’t take that the wrong way…I am not the kind of mommy that tells her kid that school is for idiots. I make him go just like any other good mom. I even encourage him to do his best. I tell him that he needs what he’s learning in chemistry. But my heart isn’t really in it. I, personally, just don’t like getting up early in the morning and then staying up late to get my work done…and doing that over and over for a whole week…and for months at a time. I don’t like the hallucinations that come when I’m walking and think I saw something move in the corner. I don’t think the bags under my eyes are cute. Not even a little bit. Not to mention the fact that school and I started off on the wrong foot….

When I was in first grade, I was the only one who made it through kindergarten not being able to read. I don’t even know why they let me in first grade, come to think of it. That was probably when I could have made my great escape. But, as it turned out, I went to first grade anyway. The first word I ever read was “bed” (so you see my point about not liking to get up early…I digress). Yes. It was so traumatic and embarrassing an experience that I can remember the word. All the kids around the round table were sighing and saying, “Sound it out, Stacey.” Yeah. A bunch of five and six year olds acting like they had job interviews to get to even then. When I did, everybody clapped and I was sure I heard the other little black kid (there were only two of us), Mark say, “‘Bout time,” under his breath.

By the time I got to third grade I had grown by leaps and bounds with reading and comprehension and other subjects. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that noticed. As if my humiliation wasn’t enough with the whole reading thing, I got put in a gifted program. Here I was doing so well and then I got knocked again to the back of the class. I didn’t know half of what these kids knew. At that point, I was the only black kid in the class. Their parents read to them. Mine was tired when she got home from work, being the only one to hold down a job to support our family at the time. But somehow, I made it work and by the end of the school year, I had become the “success story” of the class. Catastrophe averted.

I went on with my school career in college prep classes selected by my mother until I was then placed in honors classes by the school until finally, in the seventh grade, I got called to the school auditorium and picked to be in a program that was for select students only. Now this program promised me a full scholarship to my local college if I participated. My parents were excited about it and said, “Now, when you get into this program, you can’t quit.” Now, to be completely honest, it felt pretty good for my self-esteem. But if I had known what they were planning to do to me, I know I would have thought differently. For the next six years of my life, I was in school all year: the regular school year, plus every other Saturday and six weeks in the summertime until I graduated from high school to do what? Yes, go to school! That’s a lot of sleep deprivation if you ask me. By the way, they did give out money toward college but no full rides-and I didn’t even get the money toward college since my dad worked night shifts so he was out like a light and my mom had to work the day they held the ceremony and I couldn’t go. Aaargh!!!

Since having begun college, I’ve changed my major once, been to three schools for two undergraduate degrees (AFA and BFA) and am now at another college for my MFA. This is the one I need to do what I really want to do: teach drawing and painting which I learned how to do before I ever learned how to read when I was five years old! I could have graduated in the first grade, folks.

It’s all a system designed by some really bored person so he can laugh his head off at people bustling along trying to keep up with life.

Tomorrow I have to have a review with the MFA faculty about my work this past semester. I’m nervous so I know they’ll be no sleep tonight either.

Needless to say, I’m a little jaded about school. Don’t tell my kid, okay?

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~ by babystace on May 20, 2009.

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