Us vs. Them

25 02 2012

In all truth, this blog wouldn’t appeal to the younger generation of college co-eds. In their world, my carefully wrought narrative would sound like meaningless drivel. While I work full-time so I can afford to go to college full-time, they sign another promissory note, adding to their college tuition debt, forsake all forms of paid employment and squander their additional hours with Xbox Live, World of Warcraft or some other online gaming community.

Let’s use my sons, for argument sakes.  Briefly, let’s compare their average day with my own schedule. A possible daily schedule on any given weekday:

5 a.m. – I wake up and work out (see the post on stress management); my sons are still sleeping

6 a.m. – I shower

6:30 a.m. – Make my (healthful) lunch (which includes both a serving of fruits and vegetables), then read my Bible while I’m eating breakfast

7 a.m. – I finish ministering to my mature face, teeth and hair, and don appropriately professional work attire, leaving the house by 7:40.  Those darling sons of mine are still snoring away, of course (“Mom! We don’t snore!”).

8 a.m. – Begin working at the middle school. My first hour is spent in seventh grade social studies

9:30 a.m. – Boys finally wake up, jump in the shower and rush to class (who needs a healthy breakfast anyway?) I’ve moved on to eighth grade social studies by this time, where I’m currently absorbing more facts about the U.S. Constitution than any human mind should ever be required to know.

4 p.m. – I end my day at “work” and come home to “go to class.” This involves logging into the Blackboard website and reading the posts made in the discussion forums. My sons have finished their classes and are debating whether or not to consume any vegetables with their dinner (Of course, they’ll tell me they did when I ask about it during our weekly Skype conversation).

5 p.m. – I cook dinner (or sometimes my husband does; he’s Mr. Wonderful) and clean up the kitchen

5:30 – 8:30 p.m. – I work on my homework for the week. This includes internet research, textbook reading, reading of related journal articles (a favorite from my current psychology professor) and paper writing or responding to discussion board posts. My boys head back to their abode for times of friendly banter with roommates and forays into their online gaming communities. Since my older son is a junior, he does spend a few evenings per week in the computer lab working on his junior project.  However, this means he can stay up all night Friday playing games and then repeat the process on Saturday.

9:00 p.m. – Head to bed. Research proves that the human body requires a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep for optimal performance.  My sons are getting into serious gaming by this time (unless a paper is due the next day, in which case they will crank it out in no time, text me to edit it and I will get back out of bed in order to cater to their every whim. Isn’t that what moms do?)

2:00 a.m.–On college campuses, no one goes to bed before 2 a.m. (thus the reason for taking later classes in the morning).

Here are the three co-eds on break at Disneyland

As you can see, their daily schedules allow for more frittering away of hours, while my timetable greedily hoards each second (3600 every hour) for prime completion rates on my many tasks. By this comparison, it would seem that being a middle-aged co-ed trumps traditional studenthood in stress factor, if nothing else.

A brief comparison of grade point averages wouldn’t surprise you, I’m sure. Since this blog is for encouragement, let me reiterate that spending all (okay, most of) my available waking hours focused on college course work pays dividends on the “report card.” My sons are maintaining the GPA required to keep their scholarship funding, but announcements about “being named to the President’s List” come via the mail for me.

Am I an over-achiever? Probably, but I wouldn’t recommend being a middle-aged co-ed to anyone who wasn’t at least a moderately high achiever. After all, anything worth doing is worth doing well (which is the same logic my sons use for spending extra time in with those computer/video games). One day, they might attain the mature mindset required for true success.

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