"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.
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