Loving, Learning and Letting Go

I Got a 75!!!

on January 17, 2013

Mary Cate has always been very diligent about her schoolwork and doing well in school. I guess you could say this all started when she was about in the 2nd grade. I had put her back into the private school that she attended since preschool after a year in public school. That year of second grade was filled with homework. There was at least 2 hours of homework every night, and that was tough getting used to because the year before had not been so demanding. I remember sitting with her every night teaching her how to study and get organized to be a good student. Spelling was her hardest subject (still is), and it seemed we spent HOURS studying 25 spelling words.

Around 5th grade it all seemed to come together for her. She had wonderful teachers that taught her the importance of organization and good study habits. From the time she started receiving letter grades in school, she had never received a B. All A’s all the time. In grade school this was my expectation because I knew she could do it, beyond that, she put that expectation on herself.

Now, I have been known to call Mary Cate the extra credit whore. She would do ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING to earn extra credit in her classes. I remember once having to go to the store to buy paper towels and tissues for her teacher so MC could get extra credit. Well, I guess this was a good problem to have because she continued to excel in school.

Enter the high school years. Back in public school now, but in Honors and AP courses. This is where the extra credit really comes in handy. I don’t think MC would be embarrassed for me to say that she has even cried a time or two to her teachers about never receiving a B. Somehow it all worked, and she made it through high school without a B!!

This was great and I would encourage any parent to encourage your child to do well in school. Mary Cate was offered many scholarships! She had her choice of where she wanted to go. Although her standardized test scores weren’t great, the awesome grades in high school and her course load led to the colleges giving her a second look. She is fortunate to be able to go to The University of South Carolina only having to pay in-state tuition.

So, now we (or she) is off to college. The good study habits and high expectations for herself are packed away in that suitcase and she begins her college career. She is a little shocked that most college professors don’t give extra credit (wh wh what????). But she does it and continues to recieve straight A’s during her freshman year. Something her dad and I are so tickled with!!

Sophomore year brings the courses that will shape her future and her career. She is majoring in Public Relations, and has a journalism writing class this last semester. This class will become the bain of her existence. I heard all semester how the professor wasn’t fair, that he didn’t give A’s and that she was not going to do well in this class. I have to admit, from the sound of the syllabus, this guy didn’t think anyone was good enough to receive an A in his class.

Fast forward to one cold fall night in early December. I get a text:
“are you up”.
I didn’t answer. It was 10:00 and I was close to sleep. Twenty minutes later my husband’s phone rings.

It’s Mary Cate.

I can hear her on the other end of the line hysterical. And I mean HYSTERICAL!!! She is crying and sobbing and nubbing and all of it! I sit up immediately thinking something horrible has happened to her. I mean it’s 10:20 at night. Has she had an accident? Did she get attacked?? Is she pregnant?? And then it comes. I hear Alan say “Hey, if I got a 75 in college I would be elated”. Are you freaking kidding me???? She called late at night in hysterics to tell us she got a C?!?!?!!?! Alan continued to talk to her for at least another 20 minutes listening to her and trying to calm her down. (he’s the best isn’t he?)

The next morning I emailed her and said don’t ever call us like that again! Unless of course it’s a true emergency. ARGH!

Well, she did end up getting a B out of that class and it wasn’t the end of the world. I actually think it was a good thing for her because she has relaxed a little bit. She realizes that that B doesn’t define her as a person or even a student.

So the lesson here: Don’t push your children too hard. (although I set the tone, she really took on the ownership as she got older). Let their intrinsic selves learn what is and what is not acceptable for them.


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