Friday, May 25, 2007

mediocrity

I harp on this problem every now and again. It's something that I hate about myself, but I've come to accept without question. I am, for all intents and purposes, a mediocre student. Mind you, when I say "mediocre" I don't mean "bad" as that term seems to mean these days.

No, I do alright as a student, but I've seemed to give any one subject my all. I never go the extra mile. I'm that classic example of a guy who always manages to do just enough without going a step beyond that point.

Take, for example, the grades I seem to have coming out of this semester. So far, I've got two Bs and a B+. Now, those aren't terrible scores. If I catch a little bit of luck, I'll end up a bit beyond the 50% mark, a lot of luck a bit beyond the 33% mark. The thing is, that's about all I've got going for me. I'm never going to be like Erin or Kristi. I'm never going to be a person who works hard, because people are supposed to work hard. I'm going to be a guy who does what is necessary, then devotes the rest of his life to whatever other pursuits he finds interesting.

Man, I hate that. Actually, I really enjoy that most of the time. I just hate it when I consider how my future will pan out because of it. We exist in a world and a nation that rewards people who are substantially gifted in one particular area. For example, high school kids these days often only participate in one sport, because their scholarship chances increase dramatically if, for example, they are really gifted in basketball.

The same thing goes for lawyers. The lawyers who are most monetarily rewarded are the lawyers who have devoted their entire lives to the law and law school.

Bleh.

Ah well. I guess it's something to strive for. And maybe next year will be better. I tend to work better if I'm involved in other things in the same area, and I plan to be working in the Traffic Court all year.

Whatever.

16 comments:

Kathleen said...

I think that in fact, most people are more mediocre than devoted to hard work. Most people don't like their jobs. It's just a paycheck. They consider their other pursuits more important than money. And just because someone really freaks out and strives during some areas of life - like school, for instance - that doesn't mean that in other areas they're not mediocre. Erin really strived because she had to and now she's a doctor. But in other areas ( I don't know which ones but I'm sure they are there) her life's activities may be mediocre. Remember how Kristi got like straight A's and took the ACT a bunch of times to get the highest score. After that, what happened? She got into college and finished, but by many's measurement, her ending was mediocre. All that work to have a job that most people would consider a clerical, "I have to pay my dues and then move on." But, she may be excelling at other pursuits that are of more interest to her, like Catholicism. I think I've lost my point. And today, in the nation, we may stand in awe of people who are really gifted, but I think we worship the "average" and the mediocre. I'm just going to use Bush for an example, and how he celebrated getting Cs. Anyway, you're NOT mediocre.

Kiki said...

Despite my offense at Katie's previous comment... I shall not respond to that for that is not why I chose to respond in the first place. BLEH.

Nate,

I am excited to make your blog!! Yipee!! I read this one to Andrew and he was cheering in the whole time because he is EXACTLY the same way as you when it comes to school. As he was finishing up his Masters, I was ALWAYS more stressed than him about his grades. He was happy just to "get by". It's weird how different some people are in that area. Anyhoo... I think you should be happy you're like that because at least when it comes to my hubby... you'll be WAY LESS STRESSED.

Come back to Ta town for a visit!
Keeks

Kiki said...

Okay... I can't do it... I have to respond to Katie.

"By many's measurement, her ending was mediocre."

I'm not sure who these people are who are measuring my "mediocrity", but wow... They are pretty flipping retarded.

Honestly, I feel like one of the richest people I know. I have everything I could have ever asked for and all of the work I've done my entire life (getting straight a's, graduating with honors from one of the best J-schools in the nation, busting my butt to find a job that is everything I've ever dreamed of), has all lead to where I am now.

So if these people measuring my level of achievement in life are measuring by say money or prestige, the poor dears really have a lot of things out of order. And I feel really bad for them. But thank you for your concerns.

Kathleen said...

Actually, I don't think anyone is necessarily saying that your achievements ARE mediocre. I think what I meant what was, that if you asked people about a fulfilling career they wouldn't necessarily say your job. I didn't mean to offend you, and I'm sorry. I know you're very happy and work hard. And I really HOPE you don't have EVERYTHING you ever asked for, cause then what else would you have to strive for? Anyway, I felt I needed to apologize for offending you, because that wasn't my intent.

Erin said...

Then what was your intent, Katie? Maybe people think things like what you've written, but they never write them out for others to see. Which makes me feel embarassed for you. It would be so easy to insult you the way that you've insulted Kristi and me. But you've had really hard things happen in your life, and I'm sure those have affected you profoundly. So I won't take that path. But I do think it's necessary to say a few things in our defense. First of all, Kristi. We all know that test-taking is a learned skill. I don't see any problem with Kristi taking a $25 test more than once. And if she received a score that she believes is the correct one for her abilities, great for her. Also, the first time a lot of us took the ACT was the summer after sophomore year; I hardly knew any math at that point.

Erin said...

As for Kristi's job, she wanted it so badly when she heard about it. She uses her journalism degree every day. Would it have been a more glamorous ending if she worked for the Enquirer or something? She gets to work with very religious and faithful people, even getting to attend mass at noon during her workday. The job is flexible and she gets to use her hospitality skills. What more could a woman want in a job? As far as her personal life, she met and married a very good looking, intelligent, good-hearted man. Who would never hurt her. He sees the rare jewel that she is. And now they have a beautiful healthy baby. There's nothing mediocre about her life. It sounds straight out of a fairy tale to me.

Erin said...

As for me, I "really strived because she had to"???? HAD TO??? Why did I have to? It's true that medical schools only want people that can get good grades. If you have a better idea about how you can prove that you're smarter, maybe you should apply. Or maybe you think I "had to" because my parents made me? They never expected my grades or test scores to be the way they were, they just wanted me to give it my all. So I did give it my all, and I'm not ashamed of how it all turned out. Maybe I just know the secret about delayed gratification. It feels good to do something and make it a success. I wanted to be a doctor for a long time, and now I get to live my dream. In a couple weeks, I'm marrying the sort of man I never thought I could land. My life is great, really great. But I guess you're right, some parts of my life are mediocre. My hair, for one. It never does what I want, always bushy and curly, I really should grow out my bangs. Also I have a large birthmark on my ass. Why don't you kiss it.

Kathleen said...

When I said you really strived because you had to, it was because I knew you really strived because to become a doctor you have to. It takes major striving skills. It had nothing to do with your parents or anything else. And I already apologized to Kristi. So now, I'll apologize to you. I apparently didn't say what I was going for in the correct way. And you can insult my mediocre life as much as you want. Or just my life in general, regardless of how some parts were/are, although I don't think I ever made a point of saying anything, but if I did I apologize for that too. I know my life is mediocre. I think that was actually my point - what some people would call mediocre isn't necessarily mediocre to others. Perhaps that's what I should have just said. So, to both of you I apologize, again...especially since I sincerely didn't mean to insult or offend either one of you. I should have used different examples. So, I'm sorry.

N. J. Thomas said...

You know, I totally saw this fight coming, and I did nothing to stop it. It's always a dangerous thing to call someone ELSE mediocre, regardless of the intent or the meaning behind it.

That said, I sure do enjoy controversy.

Kiki said...

And to quote the words you used in your speech at Andrew's and my wedding...

"Let's get back to some good fightin'!"

;) Nate, you crack me up.

Sara said...

I know my life is considered mediocre by many standards, even my job is considered by me to be mediocre, but my home life is great. And I think Katie might have been saying that people may have one part of their lives that others consider mediocre but you may personally think is the best thing ever. Many people might think staying in on Friday nights to watch the sci-fi channel is a boring way to spend a friday night, but I have a great husband who thinks its perfectly cool to stay in and watch Stargate or Dr. Who or Battlestar on a Friday. I may think someone else's life is mediocre because they like to get drunk on the weekends because I hate going to bars and dont really like to drink, but that doesnt mean it is to them.

Although I am currently in a little bit of a fight with Brad about my obsession with Veronica Mars, but hey, we cant have everything we want in life. :-)

Kathleen said...

I still can't believe they cancelled it. It wasn't my favorite show, but it was good and it made me laugh. I feel for you Sara.

Kiki said...

Just to clear things up... Calling ones OWN life mediocre and referring to SOMEONE ELSE's life as mediocre are COMPLETELY different things.

Sara said...

well, i can agree that most people's lives are mediocre, by at least one person's standards. But it's cool as long as the person living it is happy.

Joel said...

"one of the best J-schools in the nation"

That made me laugh. Thanks.

N. J. Thomas said...

Yeah, I just did a little googling of that, and it seems there is some truth to the statement. When people do top 10 lists, KU always seems to be listed around 10th (at least after a very brief internet search).