I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I took a nap in the afternoon and consider it lucky that I managed to wake up and get this done by midnight. Spring break went well, just like winter break I had a lot of time to do the stuff I enjoy. On Friday we took a flight to go to visit my mother’s family for Easter, and we didn’t get back home until 3 A.M. last night. I wish we had the break the week after Easter instead of before, because then I’d have gotten to sleep in today.
The visit to my mother’s family was enjoyable. Her parents are very comfortable with someone like me after raising my mother, so there were fewer issues than with my father’s family. It also helps that I have two cousins, although they’re both younger at ten and five. My uncle was affected the effects of the scare, so he’s like his parents but his children are like me. There was very little small talk, no questions asked if we needed to take breaks, and very few sensory disturbances. My mother talks about how my grandparents had no idea how to deal with her when she was my age, but they’ve learned well in the years since then. I know my father’s parents try hard, but having to care for a kid and then three grandchildren like us instead of just one grandchild makes a world of difference in knowing how to cope with us. And I know we can often be difficult to cope with.
My five year old cousin is a cause for concern for his parents. He was a late speaker, which put him in the track for the lower schools so he could get the help the school administrators thought he needed. But he’s nearly finished with kindergarten and he seems better than I remember a lot of the kids being when I was that age, and not that much worse than when his sister was five. He’s still not great, but his parents have a dilemma with deciding what to do about the schooling. Right now his test scores put him right on the dividing line between the upper and lower schools. His parents could appeal and say that his speech delay means that he’s made progress faster than normal and he should be moved to the upper school for first grade, but if he gets stressed out there and fails to pass the classes he will get sent back and might not be able to return. Or they could wait and see if his test scores and teacher evaluations definitely make him eligible for upper school, but the type of teaching at the lower school there may set him back and lower his scores. The divide is sort of arbitrary anyway, with Mark and his brother being obvious as to where they belong but a lot more kids being so close to the line that they end in the wrong environment where they can’t thrive.
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Last Thursday Mark invited Paul to join us when I went to his house. It’s slightly odd that he never invited Kat despite knowing her for longer, especially since she’s stopped talking about Daniel as much and seemed to have been in a better mood lately, but then again he didn’t recognize her at all when she got a new haircut a week ago. Since he got a job as a Spanish tutor this was one of the few days that Paul could come over. Mark’s brother had to have the addition of a new person explained to him before he came into the house, and even then every time he saw Paul he kept staring at him. Luckily he stayed in the living room while we were in Mark’s bedroom; otherwise it would have been a really awkward evening.
We played video games like usual when I go to Mark’s house, with the addition of a third person. The first game we would switch as each of us played the other. After nine rounds I only won one and Mark and Paul both won four, so they had a lengthy play-off match that Mark won. Apparently Paul also has a console at home, which is why he’s about as good as Mark. The second game we played three way competitively, and again they were even and I was outmatched. The third game was cooperative, which I preferred because I wasn’t getting beat all the time.
Dinner time arrived, and this time it was Mark’s father’s turn to cook. The meal was perfectly fine, and when asked Paul said it was delicious. Mark’s brother was staring at Paul so much he wouldn’t finish the dinner until after we’d left. When we returned to Mark’s room, Paul asked us if we thought the meal was as bland as he did. Mark was confused because Paul had called it “delicious” when we were down there, and Paul replied that he was just trying to be nice. I said that I thought the meal was good, just like every other meal I’d had there. It makes me wonder if Mark’s parents think that the meals they prepare for our sensitives are as bland as Paul does, and they have to eat it every night.
I know that we were taught in our social skills classes years ago about proper manners and small talk. The teachers admitted it was usually small lies that were used not to hurt the other person’s feelings, which made sense but doesn’t make it easier to do in practice. Paul just seemed so comfortable lying to them, like it was second nature to him. I suppose it made his father feel better about his cooking abilities, assuming that they couldn’t hear him dismissing them in Mark’s room afterward. If you lie to protect a person, then if they find out then they can be hurt both by your actual feelings and by the fact that you broke their trust. Maybe if I was better at lying that would be less of a problem, but my father can always tell when I’m not telling the truth. So it seems safer to me to just be honest all of the time.
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Last week I was sent to the guidance counselor to have them give me advice in regards to what I’d do after graduation. I’ll be a junior soon, which means it’ll almost be time to start looking at colleges to go to so they figure I should start planning now. The counselor asked me what I wanted to do as a career, and I replied that I had no idea. So he gave me a test that theoretically gives you a sense of what jobs would be best suited to you, but the result was about seven completely different professions having close to the highest score. Now I’m more confused about my future than ever.
The only thing the professions had in common was they required at least a bachelor’s degree, and I was planning on going to college anyway so that wasn’t a big help. I have good grades, so far, and I’m pretty sure I can do well on a standardized test. This means I’ll be able to get into a good public school, which is fine considering my parents financial status and the environment at public schools. In every state public colleges are legally required to at least some extent to have safe rooms, accommodate student classroom needs as long as they learn the curriculum, and provide single-room student housing. So, if a student is overwhelmed by having to attend too many lectures, or can’t do any sort of speaking in front of the class, or would rather do an individual project instead of a group one they have to be accommodated to the best of the school’s abilities. With these accommodations they can provide an atmosphere similar to the one here.
Private schools, the ones with enough money to survive anyway, are a different story. Legally, they can’t discriminate and have to offer some kind of accommodations in order to keep getting Federal funding. But of course they have ways to get around those laws. For example, they cannot discriminate against students who are equally qualified. Their solution is to include extracurriculars and interviews as qualifications. The first is a problem because some of us are too tired from going to school to do anything extra, and if we do a lot of us prefer to do things alone instead of together in clubs or other groups. This doesn’t look as good on an application form. The fact that we’re notoriously poor interviewees hurts us with the second. And even if you get in, their set-up is very similar to their traditional one. You may have to deal with a roommate, taking away a space where you can relax. They can set you up with group work you might not be able to get out of, which is even worse than it is here because you have to deal with scheduling meet-ups outside of class when everyone is available which throws off your plans. Lecture attendance could be mandatory, but class notes may not be provided which leaves someone who can’t pay attention to lectures both stressed out and unprepared for an exam. Private schools giving accommodations may be legally required, but they’re both more limited and far more difficult to get than at a public school. Despite all that, a lot people like me have been successful at private schools, but not as many as you’d expect from our high school academic records and test scores. They’re expensive anyway, and I’d prefer not to have to take out tens of thousands in loans to go to a school that doesn’t want me there.
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