Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The B's Knees

Many aspects of being a university student with a small child at home weren't easy. Aside from some obvious student-parent issues - for instance, How to Feed a Family on Twelve Cents a Day - I generally found myself with an issue that perhaps doesn't quite fit the student mold as it's commonly viewed: namely, I had far more brainpower available than time. Therefore, in order to maximize overall results (i.e., GPA), my brainpower needed to be harnessed in the most effective manner possible given the allotted time.

Unfortunately, my brain is a lazy slug that plays nasty tricks like setting my body off cleaning the bathroom then taking a rest itself. I figure the equation looks something like this:

GPA = (b/t) - P

Where b = brainpower, t = time and P = my propensity for endless procrastination via household cleaning.

So I made two things: one, a schedule ('You can wash the floor for ONE HOUR and then you HAVE to study, got it?'); and two, an Excel spreadsheet. I used the schedule to relentlessly nag my brain into action, and the spreadsheet to calculate the precise minimum amount of effort required to achieve a 4.0 in any given course, which assisted me in prioritizing all the nagging I had to do to myself.

Sure, there were bumps along the way - Physics springs to mind - but it was actually a pretty good little system and once I had that parchment With Distinction in hand I felt pretty darn smug for having cracked one of the great mysteries of studenthood.

A few years later I have come to understand that no one - not one single person, entity, potential employer, no one - gives a shit about my GPA. They never have, they never will. It just doesn't matter. The only person who ever cared about it one iota... was me.  I would have been well served to set my sights on a B average and get some more sleep.

This past weekend, I took Small Fry to the dentist for a check up. "Oooh!" they said. "Aaaah!" "You know," said the dental hygienist, "I don't think I have ever written this on a file before, but I am definitely writing it this time: Excellent home care!"

Do you hear that, people? Excellent home care. Excellent. I excelled at prying those miserable little jaws open every night for the past four years, risking life and limb patience and digits to floss and brush those minuscule, razor sharp chompers, and finally - finally! - my time for recognition had come. I swiftly touched up my makeup and unfolded my prepared speech.

Interestingly, despite my high GPA - which could theoretically be used as a proximal measure of (at least!) a keen ability to cram information into my brain in a reasonably thorough and retrievable way - it seems I just never learn. Because, guess what? No one - not one single person, entity, potential employer, no one - gives a shit about whether there exists in a filing cabinet somewhere in Calgary's northwest a note that my child received "excellent" daily hygienic care on his deciduous teeth. Once again, the only person who ever cared about it was me.  And, once again, I would have (in fact probably the whole household would have) been well served by me setting my sights on "pretty good" and enjoying life a little more.

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