Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Will in college

I realize I usually write here about our school-free lives, but this year -- for the first time in almost 7 years -- we have a family member in school. Will is taking two courses at the local community college (CNM) this semester. For the time being, he's only attending part-time, since he lives on his own and has a full-time job.

He enrolled this semester part-time, with an eye towards earning a Liberal Arts Associates Degree, then transferring to UNM for a BS in Sociology. This semester, he's taking English 1101 and a remedial Math course, because he feels a need to renew his math skills from high school. Altho he passed the GED test 5 years ago, with high school level math scores, when he took the placement test this time around, his math scores were lower. When we sat down with an advisor, we were told that CNM has added more remedial math courses, because more students are coming in from high school with gaps in their math learning. For example, Will's algebra scores were fine, while his 'middle-school level math' scores were low, something that's apparently quite common in recent years at CNM.

He's been in the classes for a month now, and I'm really pleased to see the time and effort he's putting into his studies. Yesterday, after Math class he told me they'd been able to see their grades and check their class standing, and he's second in the class. He said this is only because he skipped over some of the first assignments, thinking that he only needed to do those he didn't yet know (because those early handouts were outside the syllabus) so he skipped those he felt confident with. Now he'll go back and do them, get the scores and boost his grade that much more. Today he got his first essay back, with a grade of 3.5 (B+ to A-). He's very jazzed about this, because he can see now what he instructor expects in the way of style and content, and so feels he'll do even better on future assignments.

He is very happy about his progress and his experience in college. When he told me about the math class standing, I commented that this was a new for him. He replied "yeah, this is a first." Today he called me just to share the news about his essay grade, and he was both pleased and confident about upcoming essays.

Last week, he mentioned to me that he'd re-done his math homework, because even tho all the work was right, he felt the paper was too messy and wanted it to be cleaner. I could have danced for joy right there! You see, this was confirmation of what I've always known was true of Will, what I was never able to convince anyone of when he was in public school. Will is not lazy or unmotivated -- he's a perfectionist! I always believed that the reason he 'lost' his homework assignments (I would see him finish them, so I knew he was doing the work) was because he didn't want to see low grades for less than perfectly right work.

It's just so wonderful to see him, after a 5 year break (he last took a couple of college classes in 2002 mostly because we pushed him to try college), doing so well in college.

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