As I mentioned before, I was a terrible student – I had trouble staying focused. If there was a window, I would stare out the window. I would admire the clouds and drift off into a daydream.
I would think about the future and imagine what it would be like to be out of school. I didn’t even know what that was like, but I thought of it. I would reminisce about a past event or something that I did over the weekend. Anything but school work.
My teachers would catch me goofing off and turn my chair around or move away from the window.
If I wasn’t looking out the window, I was “visiting” with other students, asking them what they were doing. In other words, I was interrupting them from their school work.
As I look back, I try to think why I was like that and I am clueless. I suppose that I would need a Psychiatry degree to figure it out. I’ll leave that to the professionals.
Fast forward to the present:
After taking several personality test, I discovered that I am an extrovert and very social. Big surprise!
I like talking to people.
Life is made up of decisions. As child, we are not a cognoscente of the need to make decisions. Even as we develop into adults, we still don’t really know that in order to move forward and achieve goals, it requires a decision or a made-up mind! It would be nice to have an idea, a strategy and the motivation to accomplish the goal. Ultimately, we don’t (fill in the blank) and then we procrastinate because we don’t make a hard decision.
I am social and I the opposite is studious. I had to learn how to learn. I didn’t know that I needed to learn how to learn. I like to say that, “We don’t know that we don’t know.” We are ignorant of a lot of things. I wish that I had someone who would have come beside me and tell me that I needed to learn how to learn, but I had to that the hard way – on my own – out of necessity. That necessity came in the [looking for the word] while I was in the Navy going to school, needing to make a 70% average in my class in order to move on to my next duty station, which was supposed to be submarine school.
I am going to attempt to tie it all together.
While in Basic Electricity and Electronics school in the Navy, I had to study three times harder than the next “normal” guy. I fell into the routine of getting up early enough to muster at 7:00 AM. But before muster, I would get coffee and a doughnut for twenty cents. So that meant that I was there on base at 6:15 or so.
I would go home for lunch then go back to class and study in the afternoon. Then go home for dinner and after dinner go back to base for night study. After night study, go home and study, shine my shoes (usually at 11:00 PM), go to sleep and wake up and do it again.
By the grace of God I passed. I was determined and I didn’t give up. Not that I knew what a plan B was, but I had one and it wasn’t very good either. I had enough education to apply for Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT). As I will explain later, when I joined the Navy, I didn’t want to be average and ordinary and I thought that joining the UDT would be the next best thing to joining the submarine force. But I was driven to go to submarine school and I did. There’s an old saying, “Chipping paint and painting chips.” I wanted to work on computers.
While in high school, I had a friend show a digital clock that he made. He opened the shoe box and I saw the computer chips, etc. and I thought, “That’s nice – good for you.” I wish I was paying more attention and learned how electronics worked in high school and I think that it would have given a head start. But that is an example of not knowing what I don’t know.
At this time I was married and I couldn’t fail. I had a reason to succeed so that I could provide a life and future for my bride. But I still was just nineteen years old and before I turned twenty, I accomplished my goal of getting qualified onboard submarines. That story will be told at later time – it’s a great one!
So this is the first time that I unconsciously forced myself to focus and achieve an academic goal. It was brute force, but I made a decision to accomplish that specific goal of getting qualified on submarines.