Monday, December 5, 2011

Stay in Sequence


I began my college education when I was 17. My born day is late in the year; I never got skipped or anything. I was a pre-med/zoology major with a minor is chemistry and math. I learned something during my orientation that has aided me ridiculously in life. Follow the sequence. You gotta grab these jewels when you can, but first you have to recognize a jewel when you come in contact with it.

I filed for graduation in the fall semester of my senior year (that’s 3.5 years instead of 4). You don’t file until you are eligible. I was eligible a semester early. I never took 1 summer class nor am I a super brain. This was done simply because I followed the sequence.

The science behind said build is that there are many paths to a goal. There are people who like to do their own thing and trail blaze their paths. But MANY paths are already trail blazed. What is wrong with following that path that has already been laid out? Following a well worn path means that the risk of injury is low.

I was given a black book with the order of classes that I should take, and the semesters I should take them. I still have it. A memento. As long as I took all the classes I was supposed to, I would graduate on time. OK. Sounds easy right? Mostly, but not all the time.

According to the book, the 2nd semester of my junior year is when I should take Physics II. The problem was that physics was taught in the spring by the department chairperson. He was a TERRIBLE teacher. And since he was also the department chair, there was no one to complain to. Now…. You could step out of sequence and take PII in the fall of your senior year…. He wasn’t teaching it then. (And you have to pass Physics I before you can take Physics II.) That’s what most people did. Only 1 fall class was offered and you ran the risk of missing it. There was a limit on how many people could take the class. If you failed it in a prior attempt (failed, not incomplete, "D" or withdrawn), you were guaranteed a spot in the fall. You could be confirmed for the class and get bumped by a flunker. It was 4 credits with a lab. So there was science behind why it was suggested for Y3S2. Then if you wanted to graduate on time, you had to take Dr. Terrible’s class right before graduation. If you failed it, you might not be eligible to graduate on time.

I took it Y3S2 like the sequence said. I passed it (by luck) because of an accident (ask and I will tell you about it). I took it without my classmates because they were trying to take it with the easy instructor. I passed the 1st time and some of them had to take it repeatedly. Most of them didn't even get in the fall class and ended up taking Dr. Terrible's class anyway. 2 of my classmates didn’t graduate on time because they stepped out of sequence.

I did step out of sequence… sort of. Instead of postponing classes, I increased the amount of credits I carried by taking on electives prematurely. There was a program for which the science department was applying. If the department qualified for the program they would admit junior students, pay their full tuition and fees, give them paid summer jobs, give them monthly stipends and send them to grad school…. All At No Charge! Even though the school had not been admitted in the program yet, should it, I realized I wouldn’t be eligible for participation until my senior year. So… I stepped out of sequence my sophomore year and took extra classes in addition to the ones the book said to take because the program required 12 hours of calculus. I carried 25 credits for 2 semesters. Be mindful most full time students carry 12-15. That was a year of hell, but I persevered because I had a determined idea. Unfortunately, the department didn’t get the program. But I got a minor in Mathematics.

I/we have a student now. (I’m her main instructor, but the God is teaching me how to teach this culture to other women. And it is his light that is being reflected) She is older like I was when I walked through 120. But she is bucking the system like crazy. The people in Allah’s Garden have this proclivity to want to do things their own way. I don’t have a problem with self styled wisdom, but tradition exists for a reason. Self style wisdom is full of kinks. Tradition has the kinks worked out already. My student (and I used that term loosely) doesn’t understand why we have requested her not to build with other Gods until she has 120. Why it’s important to be 3/4th all the time rather than just at nation events. Why we have asked her not to read certain texts until she has 120. And most specifically why she shouldn’t get into a relationship with another 7 until she has 120. If she leaves us, we will not welcome her back if it doesn’t work out. We have explained our reasons and she has explained hers. At the end of the day…. She has to either follow our rules or find another educator. And because of this policy, we are now considered ogres. Whatever.

I have repeatedly asked her to “stay in the sequence” to no avail. I am not completely new to adult instruction. I worked as an instructor in vocational schools for 5 years. I suppose the fact that those students were paying for their education made a difference.

I suppose staying in a sequence can hold you back. But more than likely it won’t . If you think you are being held back or have any problems…Ask yourself who designed the sequence? Have the designers been successful? Do the designers have working and contemporary experience? The college I attended was invested in seeing their students matriculate. I am invested in seeing my students get 120. There is no guile behind my motivation. I am a female in this nation and I already know where the pitfalls and landmines lay for women. ESPECIALLY older women. I would like to aid another in negotiating said obstacles, but I can’t and won’t force my will on anyone other than my babies. If a grown assed woman doesn’t want my aid, I don’t feel compelled to give it.

So I will leave you with a 2 jewels from the old folks…..

This old man I used to work for used to tell me, “You don’t have time to make ALL the mistakes in life. I have to learn from folks who have made them already.” One of my teachers use to say, “If you don’t have time to do things the right way the first time, when will you have time to do them over?”