Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back to School

photo: George Widman/AP

Fall Schedules Everyone


Started typing this post. Had to get up, cross the room and reset the alarm clock. Kyle goes back to school in the morning and I have to take her. Grrr.

You'd think she'd have spent the summer pestering me to learn to drive, but nooooo. Spent it hanging with her friends and her not-in-a-relationship special friend. The one she waves defensively in front of her when anyone else tries to hit on her. Now I've got to get up a full hour earlier. Double-grrr.

Was I saying? Oh yeah, fall schedule. Guh' morning. *waves to everyone on the East Coast*

Check out the really smart kid:

USA Today/Associated Press

Brittney Exline is too young to vote, drive a car or go to an R-rated movie, but at the age of just 15 she is beginning her Ivy League career Wednesday when classes start at the University of Pennsylvania.

She said she doesn't really notice the age gap between herself and her 17- and 18-year-old peers — and neither do they.

Exline grew up in Colorado Springs, Colo., where at 8 years she was already in sixth grade. By 13 she had finished high school math. She turned 15 in February and graduated a few months later.

She excels at math and science and is really interested in politics, so she enrolled in a Penn program that will award her degrees from both the engineering and liberal arts schools when she graduates in 2011.

"Her motivation, discipline and maturity provided clear evidence that, despite her age, she was ready to travel halfway across the country and thrive in Penn's rigorous academic environment," Eric Kaplan, interim dean of admissions, said in a statement.

There have been much younger college students: Jessica Meeker enrolled at Penn State two months before her 13th birthday, graduating in 2004 at age 16.

Exline has already been on the Philadelphia campus for about a month, participating in a pre-freshman acclimation program. Program counselor Noemi Maldonado described her as "extremely outgoing, very social, very friendly, very mature for her age."
Is this wise? Sticking an admittedly smart 15-year old with 18-22 year old kids? What smart kids want most is the approval and acceptance of other smart kids. Yet their social and relationship skills don't necessarily match up with their intellectual abilities, while their biology will always lag behind. Even though she may keep up academically, I wonder if taking her out of her natural biological and social grouping does her a long-term favor.

On the other hand, getting picked on in high school because you're different. Not good. And the rush that comes from being truly challenged. Wow.

I left active duty Army Monday, drove to the Medical Campus of the University of Arkansas Tuesday, registered Wednesday, and started at the University Thursday. No warm-up classes either. Those first lectures were like an M-80 stuck up my ass.

(M-80 -- A big firecracker for those too young to remember blowing up shit as a kid. Really about an eighth stick of dynamite. You could get a mailbox to go 20, 30 feet in the air easy. Good times.)

It's Fall Transitions blogging:

a) The smart kid going to Penn. Your thoughts?

b) What was your big transition to the university/college like?

c) What is this fall like for the kids or you going back to school? and

d) What projects do you have planned now that summer is over?

Oh, and of course... e) Any special back-to-school shopping?