Friday, November 14, 2008

I Got Me Some Education

When I was a student at BYU-Hawaii, I took a history class from Professor Lance Chase. Professor Chase had been notorious for his blunt remarks, and his keen sense of "student fear." In other words, he knew when a student was unprepared and he could zero in on the target. His words were like ice-picks chipping away at lame excuses about why the reading assignment wasn't done, or why you couldn't make an intelligent contribution in class, and most importantly he could strip away the use of the big $10 dollar words. Professor Chase could weed through the rows of students, and always, always find the unprepared victim.

I found myself in that predicament one time too many (and oddly enough I love I was given a "special invitation" to meet with him in his office. My initial reaction was "Uh, yeah right." The only way I would go was kicking and screaming. Knowing how ruthless he was in a roomful of students, it made me shiver to think what a personal confrontation would be like. I'd rather jump in front of a bus!

So feeling the way I felt, and knowing what I knew, and thinking what I thought, I could not understand why I continued to agonize over whether or not to meet with him. After all it was an invitation not a summons. He never said, I had to meet him. He merely suggested that I meet with him. The bottom line? He scared the bejeezus out of me and I would have to be a masochists, right? So you can imagine my horror and trepidation as I found myself contemplating the unthinkable, worse than that, I soon found my feet walking in the direction of his office; and horror upon horror, I was standing outside his door trying not to hyperventilate as I watched in slow motion, my eyes wide with terror, as my arm rose up and my hand clenched in a fist knocking on his door.

My legs nearly gave out when his voice from the other side of the door said, "Come in."

Just one word repeated itself over and over in my mind, "Run!"

He offered me a chair and then posed the dreaded question, "So what's the problem?"
It wasn't a "I'm concerned for you, what seems to be the problem" kind of question. It was more of a "So, what's YOUR problem that I gotta drag you into my office" kind of question. This was an "adult" conversation. I hadn't had many of those and I cringed to think that this would be my introduction to a no-holds bar tete-a-tete. I prayed for a hole to open up and swallow me.

***Interjection: Yeah, I'm not going to bore you or humiliate myself with the remainder of that conversation. Everthing he said to me hit home...hard. I'm grateful for all of it. I'm most grateful for his last comment as I was leaving his office.***

"I give you credit for coming," he said. "Not many would have--considering the circumstances. It took a lot of guts. I admire that."

And with those parting words I was out the door. It felt like I had gone a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. I was emotionally drained and yet, I felt as though I were walking on air. I had survived, and more importantly I had learned a very valuable lesson (here's the money shot so pay attention) -- excuses only matter to those who aren't willing to invest in you. So why bother with those people? To the ones that do matter, all they want to know is that you gave it your all, and you did your best, beyond that it's all just fluff.


Ipo said...

This is the thing I loved the most about BYUH, the classrooms were small. The professors were invested in each and every one of us. We couldn't hide or weren't lost in the crowd or, heaven forbid, just another number. What a great experience, what a great time! I'm waiting for you to blog about Bro. Walker or Bro. Peterson. So hurry up, k?

Calidore said...

Your wish is my command!