Saturday, December 25, 2010

Velvet's Report Card

Velvet's grades for this semester were the worst collection of grades I've ever seen in my life.  There have undoubtedly been worse report cards in this world, but never in this family - unless my brother got one that was worse and hid it so thoroughly from my mother that no one in the family ever knew how bad his grades at college were.

Both Velvet and my Pulitzer Prize winning brother did very well in high school, but they are both the kind of people who need to be duct-taped into their chairs at class.  My worry about Velvet isn't that he's a fuck up - because he is totally not a fuck up.  There seems to be a major disconnect between how he perceives his academic performance and Reality.  Until I can get some concrete information from the school, I am thinking that he is so clueless about his daily assignments that he doesn't even know he's fucked up.  He's learned to follow the syllabus well.  The trouble is that professors often vary from the syllabus once the semester is underway.  If you go to class and pay attention, it's pretty easy to keep up.  There may have been some serious deficits in the Going to Class and Paying Attention arena.

I would be pissed off about it, but he's so sincerely disappointed in himself that I can see he really, truly believed in his deepest heart that he was getting a B in a class that he failed.  My task is to assess and define the specifics of this disconnect between perception and performance.  Until we fully understand the nature of this deficit - Velvet is not going back to Tree Hugger.  We haven't gotten the letter from Tree Hugger yet, but we can be sure that Velvet is suspended.  Many times, parents have successfully appealed a suspension and the student goes on to perform within normal parameters.  I have already told Velvet that is not going to happen.

What is happening is a Semester in the Rockies with an outdoor education program that is similar to Outward Bound.  He went for a summer in the Wind River Wilderness area of Wyoming back in 2008.  If he likes the semester program, which will give him 16 college credits through a university in Utah, he can stay in Wyoming and pursue a four year degree in Environmental Science and Leadership. Either way, he'll be a certified Wilderness First Responder which will help get him a job with the Parks Service.

Blessed Be

Velvet on the right. Wind River Wilderness Summer 2008


Lisa said...

Educating non-traditional learners and processors (I hate how dehumanizing that sounds, but I think you understand what I'm aiming at here) is such a challenging issue for the students, the parents, and the institution. Velvet is lucky that you understand the ins and outs of the system and know how to find answers. So many parents wouldn't even know where to begin to help their child.

The NOLS sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

NOLS sounds great -- best wishes to Velvet!

verymissmary said...

YOU are the best, and Velvet is Blessed. Love you girl.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Yikes. Good luck to him. I know college overwhelmed me the first semester. I hope he gets back on track soon.

jadedj said...

You are definitely a good mom. My mother would never, and didn't, give a shit about my progress, or lack of. Much of my first attempts at college were based on partying and girls, and never going to class...consequently I got canned after my first semester. And of course in those days, your ass almost immediately got drafted after being booted from college. A traumatic experience at the time, but it turns out served me well when I finally got my sorry, party boy ass back to school...having become an adult. It is all a matter of perspective. Possibly Velvet simply needs a bit of perspective.

PENolan said...

Jaded, thanks for the vote of confidence. Every time he's been out in the wilderness for several weeks, he has returned home centered and at peace with himself. It's got something to do with self-reliance and achievement, and a lot is based in the interaction between his body and the environment.
I don't understand it, but I know it works.

Debra, NOLS is an outstanding program. To give credit where credit is due: Buzz Kill turned Velvet on to NOLS. He went there when he was right out of high school. Buzz Kill went to that hippy dippy Quaker camp, too. Both have been instrumental in Velvet's development - and for that, Buzz Kill gets a gold star in my book.

VMM, I'm pretty sure we're all blessed - and not just because it's Christmas ;)

Lisa, Navigating the system can be confusing, for sure, and lots of people blame a kid for being irresponsible and lazy when really, the neurological/cognitive issues have exacerbated typical developmental issues. When adults punish kids for their neurology, you get behavior disordered kids.

Parents still have to set firm limits. I know that anyone who read about the time I decided that when Velvet is grounded it means (1)no more than 3 friends could visit, (2) they had to leave by 11:30, and (3) there would be no hot boxing the bathroom, will think that there are no firm limits at Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters. Those people have never seen me go Samuel L Jackson on him for being disrespectful.

I can't stand whiny, disrespectful kids. Actually, I hate whiny, disrespectful adults too. And Entitled Douchebags of all ages. And Glenn Beck. I'll have none of that shit in my house, Motherfuckers. Kaboom!

Doctor, I'm sorry to say that this is Velvet's THIRD semester. That's why he's off to the wilderness and why I'm very glad there is no Draft Board at the moment.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Jr. has not revealed his grades to us yet. We chose not to bring it up before Christmas. We're going to Boston the first week of January, so we figure we'll tackle the issue once we return. Hang in there.

PENolan said...

Good thinking, V.V.
If you know anybody who wants to sublet a cute little studio apartment about a mile from campus in Syracuse, let me know ;)

dissed said...

Something he can do, will do and likes to do -- and hold him to it. Sounds like a solution.

PENolan said...

Exactly, dissed, exactly

How's your mother? Still a Palin fan?

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