Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Academics First

While my son was home this past weekend, we celebrated his birthday a week early – cake, ice cream, singing, blowing out the candles and presents. We went to a pro soccer game and finished the weekend with a lobster dinner (much to my daughter’s dismay!).

At some point over the weekend…okay, maybe more than once…I asked him if he had any homework he should be doing. The short answer was, at various times, a shrug, a grunt, a “maybe,” or ignoring me. I (half) jokingly told him he better not flunk out, and he replied that he was thinking about flunking out on purpose; which was his idea of a joke.

He just sent me a message regarding a grade on a paper that confirms that he really is serious about his academic performance. I think he’s doing the right thing concentrating on his studies. This grade shows me he’s got the big picture in perspective.

But the devil is in the details. After a virus infected his laptop last week, the Tech Support office was able to restore it, but my son neglected to tell them what files he needed to keep. I followed up with the Tech office to see what they could have done better, in terms of checking for documents; I also let my son know what he should have done. Most PCs have a user folder called “My Documents” where text files and spreadsheets get saved by default. My son should have been aware of that; and obviously the Tech people should have been. Fortunately, there was not a lot to lose at this point in the year, but it could have been a disaster.

Since he had lost not only his recent homework, but also his music and pictures, we had to recreate those libraries as best we could. We also talked about copying files periodically to external storage; and I sent him back to school with one back-up and a box of empty disks.

As he had done in elementary and high school, he had created a folder for the year called “Freshman Year.” Because his schedule is a little more complex than it was last year, I suggested he might better organize his work by creating a folder for each class and keeping all the work associated with a particular class in a separate directory.

He’s been working hard; the rest will come in good time.

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