Another First Day!

by sharanpaul1

It is vital to understand that higher learning will most often present more questions than answers.  That is precisely what it is supposed to do. The first day of my sophomore year in college was as overwhelming as the first day of my freshmen year.  I should know better than to read the entire syllabus the first day.  It just leaves me feeling like I will never get it all done.  So I did what I always do, take a deep breath and break it into smaller, more manageable parts.  And enlist my grandson, the genius, to help me with studying for tests.

Being smart does not mean you do not need education.  A high IQ indicates you have the ability to learn, but it does not mean you automatically know everything.  It does not even guarantee your success at everything you attempt.  Some things, like playing guitar or knitting, require more practice than ability.  Where a marginally talented musician, who spends hours practicing and experimenting, can become a virtuoso;  a musician with a high level of natural talent can fail miserably if he neglects to hone his skills.  With this in mind, I am beginning my sophomore year in college.  (Insert scream of happiness here!)

Students should set their academic expectations high, but temper them with realistic goals.  I was extremely excited about taking American Sign Language.  It took hours to arrange and rearrange my schedule to fit the class, which requires a longer time period than most classes.  I found the class to be fascinating.  I have always been able to pick up languages quickly, and was pleased to discover that American Sign Language was no exception.  After the second day of signing, I woke up to find my right hand swollen, with every joint burning, like it had been set on fire.  A quick trip to the doctor provided a brutal dose of reality.  I was almost sixty years old and had arthritis in both hands.  Prescription drugs could help with the pain and allow me to stay in the class for a while.  But the drugs for arthritis are harsh and very damaging to internal organs.  There was, also, no way to know how long the drugs would work.  With my heart breaking, I turned down the offer of prescription medications, and dropped out of Sign Language.  I have no doubt in my ability to learn American Sign Language, but I understand that I am physically unable to keep up.

Plans may change, but the goal remains the same.  Going to college is my chance to learn, to discover, and understand what I do not know.  That has not changed with the schedule change.  Although I am saddened at having to drop ASL, I am looking forward to taking a different language next year.  But in the meantime, I have Shakespeare, History, and Modern Literature to learn.

Which reminds me….I have homework to do!