An Academic Foundation Can Be Had
Remaining positive for the
  new draft of my college memoir
All I needed was time.  But that’s what I lacked.  Or so it seemed.  Many times, the older students have fulltime jobs and/or a family to care for.
            I fell under the “family” category—all five of them.  As I’ve said before, my oldest daughter is special needs.  She required more of my time for her education to be a success.  My children were my life.  Their future was in my hands.  I couldn’t mess it up.
            But so was mine.  I couldn’t mess up my future, my education either.
            So I started studying the college’s idea of basic math that summer before I began college.  I bought a used math textbook at the college’s book store and tried to figure out percentages and fractions and basic algebra.  I even took the text and a notebook on our family’s camping trip.    
            Somehow, the math didn’t seem so basic to me.
            I drove my poor husband nuts each night for two weeks.  After days of hiking the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia with young children, after trying to feed seven people with one old two-burner Coleman stove, after campfires, telling stories and putting them all to bed, he was not in the mood for math.  [Imagine that!]
I needed to wait for the basic skills math classes to begin at college.
Luckily, some of that basic math helped out in a funny little requirement called college-level science because there wasn’t a basic skills class for science.  The only drawback with my college science course was that Chemistry was all new to me.  It’s true, ladies and gentlemen; I didn’t know what a periodic table was.  And don’t even ask me what all the little numbers meant!
            Then there was the literature.  No basic skills classes here either.  I mean I heard of Shakespeare.  Not Homer.  Never read either’s work.  I hadn’t even read Hemingway.  I didn’t have literature in high school.  I didn’t know people wrote books about journeying through Hell.  I read mysteries and adventure stories.  I needed to start collecting literature and begin reading before classes.
            The traditional college students, the ones entering college directly from high school, possessed all this foundation.  I couldn’t cope in college without it.  I needed to make the time to obtain it. 

Did you find your college preparatory classes in high school truly prepared you for college?

16 thoughts on “An Academic Foundation Can Be Had”

  1. Hi Victoria – as I didn't go to University … I didn't have to worry – but I must say now (a few decades later!) I'd love to have more knowledge … I'm slowly catching up – hence I write the blog to learn … and now must read a lot more …

    Good luck with your future writing … cheers Hilary

  2. Thank you so much, Hilary, for your good wishes. I think we are always learning. And reading is a great way to learn new things. Except for math of course–at least for me. And maybe science. All the best to you, my dear. Thanks for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It means a lot.

  3. I don't think it matters how one learns or which route one takes as long as learning continues, is recognised and appreciated – as well as being fun. Lovely post, Victoria. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Yes, it did help to go straight from high school to college. There is no way things like algebra would have stuck in my brain for more than a year. I was even smart enough to get math out and science out of the way first semester. I can NOT imagine trying to finish school with kids, especially one with special needs.

  5. Thank you so much for your kind words, Nicola. They are greatly appreciated. I agree that learning is the key, no matter how anyone comes by it. Thanks for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. All the best, Nicola!

  6. Good for you, Elizabeth! As soon as I learned the math basics, I wanted to complete the math requirements, for I knew algebra and polynomials would not stick in my brain. Not with five children pulling me in all directions. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to science until a little later. I was extremely nervous about that one. It was quite difficult to attend college and do well with five children around all the time. Thank you so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog, Elizabeth, and leaving a note. It is greatly appreciated.

  7. College prep classes in high school did help a little bit. It also helped that I went to college right after high school. It made the entrance exam a lot easier. My English class in high school helped as well. I had a great teacher and we did a lot of the classics like Shakespeare and Homer. It's impressive that you could accomplish so much with 5 kids, one having special needs. Kudos to you!

  8. Thank you for your kind words, Michelle. They are greatly appreciated. And it's wonderful to hear that your high school education was good enough to get you into college without any remedial courses first. All the best to you, my dear, and thanks for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog.

  9. Bravo to you, Sherry. That's wonderful. Substituting in the high school system, I see many students in the advanced courses. We are lucky to have advanced courses available in the high school. All the best to you, Sherry, and thank you for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog.

  10. Thank you so much, Marie, for your kind words. They mean the world to me. You, my dear, can do anything you put your mind to. You've shown that time and again. Thanks for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated.

  11. I felt that the classes I took in high school did prepare me for college. I do think that if I was to go back to school math and science would be very hard for me, as it has been so long since I have taken classes in either and I don't use either in my day job (at least not college math).

    Good for you for working so hard and trying to do your best to prepare yourself what was coming! 🙂

  12. Hi, Jess. Thanks for visiting Adventures in Writing. I'm glad to hear that people found their high schools prepared them for college. I also think that math and science would be the difficult courses for anyone who didn't use them every day. Thank you so much for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated. Please stop by Adventures in Writing again.


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