I’ve decided to use this post as my Blogging for Books entry – only
slightly amended from the original. I just stumbled upon the Zeroboss’s
weblog again recently and it’s good to see he’s back doing Blogging for Books.
His September 2006 Blogging for Books brief is to "write about a time when you either:
- learned a harsh life lesson, got punk’d, or simply had someone make an ass of you;
- gained a spectacular new insight into life; or
- decided to educate yourself about something."
This is about when I decided to educate myself about something, which eventually helped lead to my current career, and blogging.
When I did year 12 (the final year) at high school – a 200 student country high
school with not very many year 12 subject choices back in 1983 – one of
the subjects I did was English. I could choose between English or
Physics and physics definitely isn’t my strong point so English it was. I’ve also always really loved reading so English should have been easy. I would read everything I possibly could, from the back of cereal packets to my stash of Enid Blyton books.
In my midyear exams I really bombed out with a ‘D’ in English. I couldn’t quite believe this ‘D’ mark as my love for reading should have carried through to my writing too shouldn’t it? I was disgusted with my crap mark and the thought of end
of year exams filled me with dread. Failing year 12 was not an option I
wanted to consider even though I had no idea what I would study if I went to
university. In fact I had no idea what I would do at
all as the world wide web wasn’t around then and that’s my area of work and interest now. Our high school only got computers after I left and they wouldn’t
have been on the internet for some years to come.
When I finished year 12 I had an idea that I might do social work.
That idea to me now is quite laughable as I’m sure I would not be a
very good social worker. We had no career counsellors then and all I
really remember doing to prepare me for my life beyond high school was
a visit to a couple of universities to have a look at their degree
options. Nothing stood out at all but it was a trip away from my
country town for a day or two and a chance to go and get my ears pierced without my parents knowing.
Back to my ‘D’ for English. I had to learn how to write essays that would get me through exams at the end of the year so I put my head down, bum up and
practised and practised writing essays. I got my English teacher to
give me essay questions and I would write introductions for them so I got
the gist of what was required in an essay, a large component of the
exam. To add to the stress, there were two English exams. My teacher would have read my introductions, give me feedback and I’d take some more
home the next weekend. This was all on top of the rest of my year 12 workload. I obviously didn’t have a life and my teacher was superb in helping me out like this.
I think subjecting students to an end of year exam which can make or
break your entrance into university is torture. I can only presume that
when I hear of year 12’s now getting perfect or almost perfect scores
that the majority of them do science subjects where there are right and
wrong answers. I can’t imagine, unless someone’s absolutely brilliant
at things that require your own interpretation like English and history
and art, that students can get perfect scores in these subject areas.
And these were the types of subjects I did in year 12.
All my hard work paid off and I got a reasonably good mark for my
year 12 English, the best out of all my subjects. In fact the rumour going around was that I wouldn’t pass year 12
but I did and some fellow students that I thought would easily pass, didn’t.
I ended up working and travelling for about ten years before I
entered university and my year 12 marks were good enough that I didn’t
need to sit a test to gain entry. My subsequent degree helped me obtain my current paid job as a
professional writer/editor. I have to wonder if I hadn’t prodded myself back in year 12 to practise writing essays what I might be doing today.