My daughter texted me today to inform me she changed her math class for the following school year. We’d talked about it a couple of times earlier in the week. When I asked why she was hesitant about it, she replied:
I’m don't know the teacher.
I was glad that even her big sister was not sold on this idea.
Take the classes you want to take. If you like it, don’t miss out on it, my lovely almost-20 year old daughter said to her lovely almost-17 year old sister.
My heart swelled with pride. What a great big sister who encourages the younger one! Such fierce determination and adamancy about following your dreams!
Moments later and this afternoon when I received the text about the now changed math class, I was reminded of the younger version of myself and how she’d handled a similar situation.
Once upon a time I went to the guidance counselor, as was customary back in the early 90s, and when asked what classes I wanted to take, I replied with:
I don’t know. I think I want to be a nurse someday.
In less than five minutes, the counselor mapped out my entire four years of high school with every class he said I would need to take. There were multiple science and math classes. Neither of which I had an interest in. The latter I wasn’t even good at.
He applauded me for knowing what I wanted to do with my life and sent me on my way.
I didn’t end up taking many of those classes. And the ones I did, I didn’t do well in.
I probably should have told him I wanted to help people or that I had a passion for reading and an interest in creative writing. Maybe I should have told him that I found history interesting as well as some curiosity for the social science.
But I didn’t. I was fourteen years old and uncertain of who I was or who I wanted to be someday.
On the other side of things, the guidance counselor probably should have taken five minutes to peruse my academic history. Or to ask me what my hobbies were. Had he done the first, he would have seen that I scored 100% on the reading portion of the ISTEP test just prior to seventh grade. He would have learned that I read voraciously and had been reading since just shy of five years old. He would also have learned that the first “big kid” book I’d read was The Call of the Wild –it was the abridged version, but what do you expect from a six year old?
Perhaps if he’d done those things, it wouldn’t have taken me as long as it has to take my writing seriously. I might have gone to college earlier than the age of twenty-three. I might have taken more than one creative writing class in the course of four years of high school.
So when I got the text from my younger daughter today, I was proud of her. By changing her class to Calculus, she’s standing up for herself.
She’s choosing to do something she loves despite someone else. She’s focusing on making sure she’s getting the best education she can even though the class might be challenging in more ways than one.
Next time you hesitate to participate in an activity that you know you’ll enjoy and learn from, I hope you think of this story. May you always dig deep inside you and dip from the well of determination to grow into the best version of yourself. #beyou