Sunday, May 03, 2009

Picture of the day

I'm starting to dread Fridays. Last Friday everyone in my company got a significant pay cut. This Friday the landlord raised the rent. Just a slice of life in the New Depression, eh? What will next Friday bring? I don't even want to know.

My daughter Jane Bob is finishing up her junior year in high school, which means tests and lots of them. I don't mean tests in whatever subjects she's studying at school, those are pretty low stress. No, I mean college related tests. She took the SAT with writing yesterday. By the end of the month she will also have taken three SAT II's, the ACT and three AP's. What a bunch of shite, eh?

We've pretty much done everything the right way, but a lot of parents out there are plumb crazy. Did you know that typical over achieveing parents arrange diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder for their kids so that they can do better on the SAT? I shit you not. The ADD diagnosis benefits the test taker two ways: he or she gets twice the time to finish the test and a dose of Adderall on top of that. Adderall is an amphetamine that helps a child focus and increases stamina. It's good for at least 50 points on the test. Reportedly.

Imagine that. Giving your kids amphetamines for 50 points on a test. What kind of monster would do something like that? But you gotta give them this. The test is important. Jane Bob went to an exhaustive test prep class for almost six months. She had taken at least 10 practice tests before taking the real one yesterday. The practice tests were composed of medium and difficult questions, no easy ones. But the practice paid off, as it always does. She felt she did very well on the real thing and given all her experience, I'd be surprised if she didn't get the score she needs. Hopefully, she'll only have to take the test once and can move on. Most of the really motivated parents make their kids take the test several times. The colleges only see the best scores on each section. Crazy stuff, huh?

So yea, I'll be glad to see the stupid tests over with. Then we can move on to college selection and applications. She'll also have to take challenging subjects and do well in class for the fall of her Senior year, which won't be a problem. Poor kid is taking Physics and Calculus. Nuts, innit? The payoff for the kids that do what it takes is that they don't have to do anything the second half of senior year. Europe on spring break. Turn eighteen. Party. Of course if she fucked up yesterday, we might have to look into the ADD thing after all. Maybe twice the dose would add 100 points?

Just kidding. Although we've gone through the motions of doing everything that has to be done to get in an elite school, we've never been obsessed with it or gotten stressed out. We were very fortunate to get Jane Bob into a high school that doesn't do grades, so we don't have to worry about GPA, which is a stress factor up there with the SAT for kids in a normal school. The other day we were at a large get-together for high achievers and the woman running the show asked how many of the kids were horribly miserable in school this year because all of the college related stress, especially the need to make good grades, a high GPA. All of the hands went up except those from our school. Jane Bob and most of her friends have no concept of what it's like to be miserable in school. That is something I could never have imagined back in my day. I couldn't imagine not being miserable in school. So I consider getting kids through high school without being miserable the greatest possible parental accomplishment. By far. We're almost there.