Custom Curriculum

Designed by me, my high school curriculum was tweaked just a bit, but that little bit was amazing.

Working dinner shift at the diner, and full-time high school made certain classes painfully boring and tiresome because I was already sleep-deprived and tired. I suffered through them for a while, but when my grades slipped, I was required to do extra credit. So the intensely boring and ridiculously undecipherable English grammar course gave me a chance to not fail completely, through “extra credit.”

I chose to read a book written by Nathanial Hawthorne, then analyze and report on the symbolism and the inner meaning of the work. I received high marks for it, so I did a few more, then decided to not go to class at all. I secured a favorite cubby hole desk in the library and pretty much, napped, studied and wrote there. I went through Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Somerset Maugham, Faulkner, and others.

I passed the class and decided to apply this very same method to another tiresome class, P.E. My best friend Annette and me would leave school (cut out of gym) and ride in her black Javelin to a great little Greek diner not far away. We ate super fresh French fries smothered in ketchup and chatted about life in general. It was a good system. Towards the end of the year, when it warmed up in spring, I swam after school in the Olympic-sized pool. Sometimes I had the whole thing to myself. It was the perfect solution for me, swimming in that glorious pool and lapping my “extra credit” way to passing the course. An extra benefit was befriending my gym teacher, who let me practice alongside the water ballet team, even though I couldn’t afford to be on the team, or get to the meets, I was a water ballerina. I loved it so much that I saved up my waitressing quarters and bought my first speedo swimsuit. It was liberating!!! Like swimming naked, the water and I become one.

Examining my teenage self, I realize that I haven’t really changed that much. I would still rather swim and write than most other things…

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