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I’m on a Horse!

12 Nov

…or I was, for about ten minutes earlier today. Today was a good day. So was yesterday, in fact. This, coming from an avowed introvert and near-hermit. Will wonders never cease?

Actually, the past two days are really evidence of why I should force myself out of the house more. Yesterday I had dinner with my co-workers, then spent the evening drinking beer and watching TV, and having slightly hysterical discussions of clam chowder and lab monkeys with M. Today I went out into the country with one of my coworkers. One of the teachers we work with had invited the senior AVID class to her farm, and since we work with the seniors, we were invited too.

Normally the prospect of hours spent socializing makes me want to run and hide. This one did, too, but I made myself go anyway, and I’m really glad I did.

I’ve been feeling down lately, mostly due to my lack of a peer group. Even at work, I was focusing more on the fact that my fellow tutors are all still students than the fact that they are (mostly all) interested in teaching math and science. But over the past two days, I’ve had some really fantastic conversations with them, especially E., and I realize–they are my peers. Not that I was thinking I was somehow ‘better’ than them or they were ‘better’ than me; I was just focusing on the fact that we were in different places in our lives.

But we’re not, so much. We’re in our early 20s, trying to get experience and figure out careers and what we want to do with our lives and which state to get our certification in to maximize our employability. We can share anecdotes about being students or work or relationships. Then the conversation may shift to math pedagogy or China’s attempt to standardize their public education, and we can have a lively, intellectual discussion about that.

Of course, all this socializing has left me exhausted, but it’s a happy exhausted. It was great to see the kids in a different setting, too. (I really need to stop calling them kids–I’m only 5 years older than them…) Playing Uno and watching them rag on each other while playing pool was a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the fact that this particular student never completes assignments, or participates in class, or whatever. But then I see them asking questions about horses and playing with my supervisor’s 5-year-old son, and I get a chance to banter with them over dinner and they invite me to play cards, and I see them in a whole new light.

These are fantastic kids. Sometimes I let a bad day or week of tutorial push that out of my mind, so it’s nice to be reminded why we do this. We do this because these are great kids and great people with potential and drive, who could go on to be amazing members of society. They deserve every opportunity to succeed, and it is a wonderful thing to be able to assist them in some small way.

Also, yay horsies! I never went through the ‘little girls love horses!’ phase, and consequently had never been on a horse before today. It was fun, even if I was painfully reminded of just how extremely bony my behind is…

The kids students got to see another side of me, too. In order to defend myself from the onslaught of hyper teenagers, I found a pad of paper and a pen and started doodling while watching them play pool. I got many complements on my drawing, and many expressions of surprise.

S. insists that I need to pursue a career in fashion design. It’s not a career path I’m seriously interested in, but it’s nice that he sees me doing something I enjoy and have at least some ability for, and his instinct is to encourage me. It’s a sign that the AVID program is doing some good. A lot of our students come from life situations where the message has always been, ‘you can’t do that; you won’t be good enough.’ But four years of constantly being told, ‘you can do this, if you’re willing to work for it’ has changed their outlook. And that is a very good thing.

Incedentaly, I was doodling my NaNo characters. Here is Cat and her love interest, David. Cat is wearing her uniform for Noether Academy; David is a year older at the CASSCorps Academy on Noether, so he has a different uniform. They’re not very fond of each other at first…

Of course, the way things are going, they’ll still hate each other by the end of the novel. Because I am incapable of doing anything short and simple, and this must be a series! Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall…

Colors, because colors are pretty and blue pen is less so:
David: Caucasian, blonde-brown hair, blue-green eyes. Dark green/white jacket and pants over pale gray bodysuit.
Cat: Fair-skinned Hispanic, dark brown hair, brown eyes. Dark brown jacket, dark brown/beige plaid skirt over pale gray bodysuit.

Of course I haven’t written anything for about 48 hours since I’ve being all sociable, and I’m too exhausted to write tonight. (kindly ignore the fact that this blog post is nearly 1000 words) So I’m going to have to scramble to get caught up, but if I can bang out 3k tomorrow and the next day, that will go a long way towards getting me back on track.

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