EARLY COLLEGE: A PARODY

Even though the SAT or ACT is preferred in dif...

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Dear College Board,

We are parents of a Junior and a Senior in High School. We know all about ” early decision” where students can find out their application status earlier than other students. We also know it is a binding contract and should be taken very seriously. There is also “early action” which is non-binding but still affords the potential student with information about their status from certain colleges with a rolling admissions process. We know it can be a very stressful and tense time waiting for the dreaded AND most eagerly anticipated, April 1st 2011 deadline.  Herewith, I am planning a proposal for yet another placement strategy that is called ” Early College.”

“Early College” are for those seniors in High School that are READY to be in college even though it is still the first quarter of their senior year. “Early College” is meant to help parents deal with their children’s “senioritis”: obnoxious behavior, arguments and their child’s apparent “superior- knowledge -in -everything.” Since these children seem to be SO advanced,  with their astounding wisdom and arrogance it seems fitting that they should have a temporary place to live at a college, any college, before they get officially accepted. Students  would be required to take the following courses: No Beer 101, No Weed, 101, No Lying 101 thru 501 (advanced placement offered after a failed a polygraph test), I Like My Friends Better 101, 301, and 501 and Trying The Patience Of Parents (can be repeated if necessary.)

Parents of the world have been suffering through this transitory stage since the inception of college as we know it today.  It is generally a process that starts in the Junior year of High School which includes, but is not limited to, the following:  1) driving permit, 2) PSAT, 3) tutoring for the SAT, 4) paying for the PSAT and SAT ) 5) paying for driver’s education course 6) paying for additional drivers on our insurance etc. We listen with an open heart to gripes about the PSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT 2’s, and those teachers that “hate” our children. We pay for additional tutoring with a smile and a hefty check and we shuttle those with a learner’s permit to and from: malls, movies, friend’s houses, malls, and malls. I am proposing a Junior program as well for those Juniors in HS that are not quite ready to take the big step away from home. It’s called the “Parent Appreciation Program & Smiling” program or PAPS as we call it. This program is for an entire week where students will have to sit through (or be sat on) courses such as the following: Eye Rolling, Superior Attitude, Cursing, and Selfish Behavior.  In these classes, teachers will parrot student behaviors and show students what it is like for parents every single day and night. They should learn how it feels and recite the following every ten minutes: “treat others as you would like to be treated.” That is, in our program, our mantra.

Thank you for your attention and consideration. We know that the aforementioned programs will bring a brief respite for parents and some important information for the Juniors and Seniors in all High Schools. Please let us know what we can do to expedite this program. I mean that seriously, please.

Yours truly,

Parents of High School Students Incorporated

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Lost And Found

Tulips from Keukenhof Gardens, Lisle, Holland.

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I haven’t been writing at all and I don’t know why. It’s always a bad sign if I don’t write. Now, I need to question myself, in public, about what’s going on. The past week has been filled with pain, intensely painful legs out of nowhere with nothing to help dissipate the pain. Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, even Tramadol which I have been taking twice a day. Of course, I thought, I jinxed myself when I wrote that I was “lucky”that my pain was less intense than some.  Past tense. Now I have a new pain that I didn’t think was possible and I don’t know where it came from or why it still exists. That new pain jolted me to a new reality and I hate it.

I’m bothered that my sister is my sister and not a friend I would pick and that the best friend I had picked has completely lost herself,  in her marriage and her children and has not resurfaced for years. The stress in the house has become unbearable at times, with my husband unemployed and a Junior and Senior in High School. They have essays to write, exams to study for, colleges to apply to, jobs, appointments, homework, studying. We all feel the stress around us, inside us, despite of us. My children and husband are what keep me going; I not only love these three people, I adore them. They make me laugh, they make me smile and when I was about to cry today, they knew it long before I did.

Yesterday I laughed so hard I had a stomach ache, my kids put up a fake unicorn tapestry to prank their father for going to the Cloisters. After dinner with our friend Janis from California we all ate chocolate, one with a spice called cholula. We laughed and gasped through the pain and I downed two glasses of Arnold Palmer lite iced tea and lemonade afterwards. I went to bed smiling, the laughter being a delightful and unexpected present.

The holidays are almost upon us and I start thinking of my dad, who passed away 8 or 9 years ago. Why is it that I can never remember the year he died? Not being good with numbers has nothing to do with it, it’s a mental and emotional block that I can’t seem to get over. My father was the buffer in the family, the diplomat, the peace-maker. Without him the rest of the family is a triangle of raw emotions.  I was the one who lost the person who understood me the most and who thought identically like me. There is a gaping hole in our family and as everyone who has lost someone they loved knows, there is nothing to heal that pain. It’s like a festering, open wound and once in a while someone tosses in a cup of salt every now and again. There is before and there is after. Your whole world changes forever.

My birthday is coming up and as much as I used to love my birthday this year it feels like a dull ache. I don’t care that I am another year older, I was never concerned with age. Whether I am 53 or 54 doesn’t mean much to me at all. I don’t hide my age and I don’t erase my wrinkled forehead. These fine lines come from experience, both good and bad, they are here to stay. Earlier today I was thinking of my “bucket list”.  The first thing that came to mind was a tour of the tulip season in Holland and snorkeling in  some Caribbean Island so I could escape the long, cold, snowy winters.

Life is short, I am trying to make it fun. Every day is a gift and I should appreciate it but sometimes I get swept away by all the negativity and I need to pull myself up and out of that empty hole in the musty, brown earth, inch by painstaking inch. I think I have found my voice again so after I dig myself out, I will be facing the sun.