My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Blog, 10/2/13: Dumb things.

This is why I’ll be glad when I’m in college. Some of this will stop, and be replaced by different idiocies. But at least it’ll be refreshing to be answering a different litany, or maintaining a different farce, or tolerating a different kind of (well-meaning?) adult.


Latin class

What people think: “Wow. You’re taking Latin of your own volition?” [Granted, it does sound impressive… unless you have a realistic view of what high schools are actually like.]

What it’s really like: “Yeah. We learn pretty much no grammar, I fudge my way through stuff I’ve missed after being out sick and I still get a good grade, and probably nothing I’m doing here will be useful to me. I’m not going to use it, and colleges are unlikely to ever notice or care that I took it. By the time I get to that point, they’ll want my transcript from community college and not my high school one.” [By the way? This is what high schools are actually like.]

What I say: “Sure. I like languages.”


Latin homework

What people think: “Wow. That must be really difficult!”

What it’s really like: “Wow, book. I just translated the sentences, ‘Birds fly in air. Fish swim in water. Humans walk on the ground.’ I am astounded by your profound insight.” [This is Chapter 10, by the way. The course is almost over.]

What I say: “Here you go, Teach.”


Dual-credit classes

What the teacher (and everyone else even remotely related to the program) says:

“This is a dual-credit class. I am a real teacher, from an actual legit seriouspants college. This is just like a college class. It’ll be more difficult than your high school classes, like a college class, because it is a college class, a really real college class. It’ll go on your real, serious college transcript that everyone will look at, because it is a real, serious college class. Really. It’s a college class. You’re in a high school building but it’s a college class. I’m serious. I’m serious because college classes are serious and this is a college class.”

What I’m thinking: “It is important that this will go on the college records. Nevertheless, the class is actually easier than its high school version, which I took last year. Most of the students here have taken a few dual-credit classes already anyway, and we’ve all heard this spiel more times than the teacher has fallen asleep whilst reciting it.”

What I say: Nothing. They’ll shut up about it by the fourth week or so.



Art college reps

What they think: “These kids like art a lot. Obviously, it’s my job to get them an art degree from my college, or they will lead sad and unfulfilled lives. Also, I want their parents’ money.”

What I think: “…No. I don’t need your liberal indoctrination OR your expensive degree, which is even more useless to me than it is to anyone else in this room. Go talk to the three to five students in this art class who actually want jobs in art. The rest of us would just like to chuck your information card in the trash to avoid being spammed by your college for the next two years. But when you get bored of talking with the hippie guy, we have a drawing of Batman to show you.”

What I say: “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard good things about you guys… no, I don’t think I’ll go there. Thanks. No. Really. I’m sure.”


People trying to get me to nail down my plans

What they think: “Surely you have a dreeeeeeam, young scholar. Tell me all about how one particular career path is Your One True Path, and anything else will leave you to leave a sad and unfulfilled life.”

What I’m thinking: “Uh, no. Actually, I want x, but… cynicism, and realistically, I’ll probably change my plans sixteen times like every other college student ever. So I’m making sure I have a plan B. No… I’d be just fine with plan B, too. Thanks. No. Really. I’m sure.”

What I say: [At first, what I’m thinking. Then I realize I’m probably talking to one of my dad’s relatives or somebody else who didn’t actually ask the question in order to get an answer, and I say whatever will make them nod approvingly and leave me alone.]


People trying to get me to nail down which four-year college I’ll attend after community college (if they paid attention to the last bit)

What they think: “Surely you have a *dream college* where you must get in, for any other college will leave you to lead a sad and unfulfilled life!”

What I’m thinking: “This question is just as silly as if you’d asked a sophomore where she’s going for college. I can’t read the minds of admissions counselors (and wouldn’t want to anyway–too scary). I’ll go to whichever of my hand-picked short-list colleges accepts me, or the best offer. What do you want, my list? Because I’m pretty sure you don’t actually care one way or the other. You’re trying to make conversation. Maybe you just don’t remember how convoluted the whole process is for everyone involved? Either way, you’re never going to get a straight, simple answer out of a student on this one. Can we talk about cats?”

What I say: “I’m not sure yet.”


Any relatives who don’t know me very well

What they say (invariably):

1. “So, what school are you going to?”

1a. (optional) “I thought you were going to _____.”

2. “Do you like it there?”

3. “What are you going to do after high school?”

3a. (optional) “I went to _____. You should go there!”

4a. “What degree are you getting?”–they want specifics–OR

4b. “What are you going to do when you grow up?


I usually say:

1. “‘X’ High School.”

1a. “I was last year/two years ago/three years ago/that’s a middle school.”

2. “Don’t ask that question; you don’t want to know the answer.” (Or, if the relative is someone I have to be diplomatic around, the answer is, “It’s better than Y High School/Middle School that you mentioned in 1a.”)

3. “Community college for programming, then a four-year for Psych.” (Cue questions about which four-year.)

3a. “Oh, cool. Maybe I’ll look at that one.” *nod, smile*

4a. “Uhhhh…” (Psych degrees are weird. Nobody can decide whether it’s a B.A. or a B.S., since it’s one of the newer fields of science and a good chunk of it isn’t actually science. Throw in that programming degree, and you’ve got yourself a question impossible to answer concisely. It’s especially frustrating since I *should* be able to give a simple answer like everybody else. But this is me, and I can’t do anything education-related the simple way. Y’know?)

4b. *incredulous stare, then snaps out of it* “Eh… I’m keeping my options open for now.” *Smile and nod.*


But I’m thinking:

1. “Hogwarts.”

1a. “Did you know that sometimes people do different things?” (Or, if the relative hasn’t seen me in a while… “That’s a middle school.”)

2. “No. Do you actually remember high school?”

3. “Eat a burrito.”

3a. “Yes, I acknowledge your name-drop. No, I don’t want to go there; I don’t enjoy being in debt enough for that. However, I will indulge you, because after paying 40K a year for a degree you could’ve gotten anywhere else and clawing your way out of a financial pit, bragging is the only consolation you have left, and I will stand here and look suitably impressed as you toss out that it’s your ‘alma mater’ and ask me if I know what that means.”

4a. “My psychic powers inform me that I’ll be employed as that dude who sits around and comes up with new Dorito flavors. I am getting a degree in that. You can probably do this in California.” OR

4b. There’s a whole list of responses to this. A few of the PG ones:

“I wanna be a fireman!

“I wanna be a coroner!

“Go away.”


This is why teenagers don’t like family reunions.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at 12:57 am and is filed under Stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Blog, 10/2/13: Dumb things.”

  1. Nivedha
    11:26 am on December 4th, 2013

    “This is why teenagers don’t like family reunions.” Ah, Thanksgiving. Brings out the worst in me. My cheeks are red from being pinched and my ears sore from hearing people talk about the future. Hope Turkey Day went well for you, though!

  2. Writer
    11:47 pm on December 8th, 2013

    Actually, my Thanksgiving involved six people total, and they were six people who actually liked each other. I know, unheard of, right?

    On the other hand, I’m a Yoder. That means lots of Amish Mennonite relatives. My father–who was the one who came from said family–married a Baptist girl from the south side of Chicago. They used to swear at her in German.

    My father, by the way, who is now a design engineer and works with high-tech stuff every day. Me, a novice computer programmer.

    They don’t get along with us very well. This is nothing to say of what my mom’s family (not all of them) can be like.

    Ergo, six-person Thanksgiving. But it’s much better that way.

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