Thursday, October 07, 2010

Childish Adults

"I am the only adult on this campus!" Grace huffed into the phone today as she trekked across her college campus.
I'll have to agree that she was getting some pretty bad advice from the adults at her college. Grace has been struggling with class load and swim practices. She practices 15 hours a week. She had the sprained ankle and now has rotator cuff problems, plus a perpetual cold and sometimes fever in the cold, rainy weather where she has transplanted.
Her major is conservation biology, which requires taking a biology lecture class with a three hour lab and a peer component. They meet five times a week. She's struggling with the class, partially because of the math and the fact that she is not allowed to use a calculator. The instructors banned calculator use because they are so advanced that students can hide information in them and cheat on tests.
Today, Grace met with her advisor who isn't in the biology field. He's in the Communications department and is in charge of her performing arts "house." His wise suggestion: She should drop her biology major. He doesn't think she can swim and major in biology.
Then she had a meeting with the swim coach who had noticed she was struggling. I thought he might offer suggestions to help her deal with all the hours of practice, offer her some sympathy.
He wanted to know why she wasn't spending more time with the swim team when they aren't at practice. He thinks she has social issues. Truthfully, from the first night she got there, the swim team has been drinking heavily. Grace has chosen not to drink at college (Earl and I don't know where that came from, but we admire her decision.)
Grace did not rat out the partying swim team members, including the fact that the 21-year-old captain collects money from the younger students and buys them alcohol. His ultimatum, commit 100 percent to the swim team. Start hanging out with the swim team members.
So that's what she got from the adults in her life today: Drop the major that you have planned on for years and start hanging out with people who get falling-down drunk every weekend.
Grace may change her major before the end of college, but it seems like a choice between spending more time studying or more time swimming should be directed to the academic side.
Neither biology nor swimming are making her very happy any more. She gave up playing on the Quidditch team. She just dropped swing dancing. She may not get to travel to the Rally for Sanity in Washington, D.C. Biology and swimming are asking a lot from her.
What does make her happy these days? Her crazy performing arts friends who sing, dance and laugh. Learning how to do makeup and costumes at the theater, including some pretty cool stick-on wounds.


Linda said...

Well, what a bummer. You know, I hated my major-nursing-all through college and it never entered my head to change to something I liked. I wished I had changed colleges to when it comes to hindsight. Hard adjustment for her.

Sheila said...

I have a few thoughts about this, first off I think her advisers are idiots and Grace needs to continue following her good instincts.

Next she chose this school because of the major, this is the major she is really interested in. I think it deserves more than 1/2 a quarter before she moves on to something new. Daniel found it really helpful to start going to office hours with his math professors (it took him 1/2 the year to figure this out) college advisers always recommend having a relationship with your professors, not only will it help you if you need to discuss a grade on a test or homework but it seems the biology prof would be perfectly suited to advise Grace in her major and what she can do to make it work.

As for swimming while it may have been what she needed previously maybe now the drama department can fill that need. Maybe swim team has become more of a stress and less of joy. Maybe just swimming for fun is what she needs now.

And last maybe Grace just needs to be able to vent to you without you fixing it. I think it was Kathleen that said she has to do that a lot with Joe. He needs to call her to complain about everything and she just listens then he manages to work it all out on his own and by the next time they talk he has moved on. So it may be important to remember to ask Grace if she needs help or if she just needs you to listen.

And I'm always here to listen to you vent so you can get it out of your system also.

Love you both!

Paulita said...

Sheila, You were a lifesaver yesterday. And you're right that Grace needs to vent. I want her to feel that she can do that with me without anger or judgment from me. (That's right, Grace, I mean it.)
And, Linda, you're right that Grace shouldn't feel locked into that major, but a little more exploration to discover what she wants to do with her career.

Anonymous said...

I think Grace is an amazing young woman. She has a good head on her shoulders and is extemely mature. It is a beautiful thing to see a young woman with integrity and conviction! You go Grace! xo,Gina

Paulita said...

Yea, Gina. So good to hear from you and thanks for the reassuring words for Grace. I miss reading about your little guys.

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