It's a new year. Time for a cliché reflection of the past. 2009 was an odd year but possibly the best year of my life so far. Me and Jayda have been together for over a year. She has been, undoubtedly, the best influence on me throughout 2009. It’s because of her that I know I should have written "Jayda and I" and how to use commas to insert stuff into my sentences. More importantly than grammatical influences is the impact she has made on my academic outlook in general. Honestly, before I meet her my outlook was grim. I never rejected academics I simply ignored it. Devoting myself to school work meant that I had to devote myself to my future. The future let alone my own future was always a prospect that intimidated me... so I met it with indecisiveness. I touted a philosophy that if I bide my time I will be able to make the right decision for me--a philosophy that became a conviction.
I had never really been praised for anything academically either only challenged. In high school, my math teacher Mrs. Gesterling (sp) called me over to her desk she had one of my exams in front of her. She didn't do the usual teacher pep talk crap instead she did something unexpected: she leveled with me. I didn't do well on the exam but I didn't really try either. She said I could do better and I told her I could but it was all so easy and didn't really seem worth my time. She said: prove it. Get a 100% on all the exams if its so easy. She smiled. She called my bluff she thought that I really couldn't do it even if I wanted to. I had to prove her wrong and I did. I only missed one problem on the final exam. She smiled. I know now she was probably more surprised that I missed that one problem than me acing all the other exams.
Similarly was Mrs. Burns English class I didn't attend the first two weeks of her class. She was known for her short temper and abrasive attitude she furiously dragged me into the hall when I attended. However, once outside the class she again leveled with me and once again I'm not sure what our exchange contained exactly but the game was set just as it had been in math class. I know now she wasn't so much a teacher but a challenger looking for students who would rise to the occasion. I was one of the only students that appreciated her and her class I received a B in the course with approximately 64 absences (she put that in there as a personal stab not as a literal count).
One day in AP world history, my teacher Mr. Mathias (sp) was doing midterm grades. He would ask if you wanted him to say your grades or you could come up and get them when it came to me he asked me to come up. I said no way! He asked if I was sure. Of course I am! I exclaimed. You have a 3 Jack, a 3 percent. You haven't been here for a single quiz, test or exam and you have only turned in one class work assignment and that was the first assignment on the first day. People laughed. But so did I. The last month of school he announced to the class that if I attended every class he would bring donuts into the class. He told me in private that if I made up every single homework assignment, class work, test, quiz and exam and didn't get lower than a C on any of them he would count them for full credit. He gave me the best challenge that I have ever been presented with. I went to work. I completed every single homework raced through ever single class work and poured through every chapter. I crammed every possible scrap of world history into my mind that was allowed. There were two A's, one B and the rest C's and D's on the final exam. I received an A. I passed with a B in the course.
This might sound like I am bragging. But I am not. I'm ashamed of it. Really. Because even though I proved to my teachers that I could I never once proved it to myself. This proof is a debt that I have owed and continued to defer payment on for so long. Interest rates arnt getting any lower you know.
In the words of Jack Johnson:
It's really too bad.
He became a prisoner of his own past.
He stabbed the moment in the back with the brown thumb tack that held up the list of things he got to do.
It's really no good.
He's moving on before he understood.
He shot the future in the foot, with ever step he took.
He don't even know where to being.
He looked both ways but he was so afraid.
Digging deeper (into?) the ditch ever chance he missed.
Every brick he laid every mistake. They say,
his walls are getting taller his world is getting smaller.
Staple it Together has been a personal anthem of mine: it sums up the mistakes that I have made so far.
I would like to say thank you to Jayda for helping me realize these mistakes. Without her I could very well have maintained the state of denial. Denial of myself, denial of my future and denial of my life. I received Deans list this past spring and pulled a 3.75 this fall. My teachers no longer have to challenge me. Instead they give me the framework in which I eagerly build upon. If she hadn't mysteriously, thankfully, fallen into my life my history teacher would have never wrote "The best, you are an historian" on my paper. I would have never finally dedicated myself to a future as a history professor. I'm done looking both ways and instead of building walls I'm building roads all thanks to Jayda. She has written me and my future an over sized check; the first down payment on the debt I owe myself. I can only imagine how to begin paying the debt I owe her. I truly do not know how to repay her. This tiny blog entry is a start but a meager one at best. So for now all I will say, all i can say, is that that I love you Jayda. (ps i tired to put a picture of us on the end here but err... i cant do it)