by Bobby May
There’s no shame in it— I did not achieve my full potential by the end of high school.
That’s not to say I went badly. No. I was actually a pretty smart kid.. though never at Maths. I failed every Maths test after Year 9. The calculators complicated everything for me.
Three years on, I’ve begun to realise there were contributing factors to my complete lack of motivation to achieve my full potential. There are four clear factors, and suffice to say, I can only claim partial responsibility for my downfall.
1. NOT HAVING AN EXERCISE BOOK. OR PENS.
I didn’t own any of that shit.
I was that complete dickhead who turned to you on a regular basis and asked "Hey man, do you got a spare pen?" Before you even responded, I’d take your pen and turn away.
But then I’d turn back to you and ask "Hey man, can you rip us out a page of your book? I forgot mine." And then you’d oblige and roll your eyes. "Thanks dude, sorry. I’ll give it back to you." And then I’d never give your shit back. Usually, I’d throw your pen in the bin on the way out because I was so used to this daily routine. My rationalising for this behavior was based on three key points:
- My school was on a big hill.
- I had to make my own way to school.
- I was tired in the mornings.
So there was no justifiable reason I was to make my bag any more heavier carrying books or writing material up that fucking hill. Looking back, I’m not even sure why I brought an empty bag to school.
2. PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO & DIGITAL IMAGING.
I did a subject called Photography, Video & Digital Imaging. It took up two units that didn’t even count toward the HSC. Most people were unaware that the subject even fucking existed. I was the only one in my class who tried and as such, I was the only one going for a UAI.
I put all my effort and heart into this course for one sole purpose: To claim First Place in a subject just to get on the Honor Roll.
So as I took the stage at Graduation to collect my medal and prestigious handshake, I exited stage right overcome with the feeling of how much of a fucking waste of time that all was. I never won a medal before, and it was pretty exciting, but I have no idea where I put the medal. And I don’t really give a shit.
3. POT SMOKING GIRL WHO LOVED THE BEATLES.
At one point my school did a joint stage production with a Catholic girls school. A stage adaptation of “The Sound of Music”. It wasn’t half terrible. I was on the backstage crew helping out, though mainly doing nothing.
There I met this girl who was in the play and I thought she was, quite simply, the best person who ever lived. I knew this before we even spoke to each other.
She was a year older than me, and I spent the entire production trying to speak to her. Eventually I was successful and because of what can only be due to my natural abilities, we established a pretty close bond. I learned of our joint love for The Beatles, amongst other things we had in common that made it a daily effort to control my inner emotions around her.
And then I learned that she enjoyed smoking weed. A lot. Which was fine.
But at that point I hadn’t even touched weed. And it actually didn’t even take a second to process the decision mentally before she was blowing smoke in my face and shoving the pipe in my mouth. And so the habit came about purely because it provided me with reason to be with her more.
In the months following we spent a lot of time together getting blazed watching Tenacious D DVD’s at her place. It was a year of firsts for me, and it really pains me to recall the fact that she used to call herself Penny Lane, while she called me Opie, just like in that movie Almost Famous where the character “Penny Lane” corrupts “Opie” with her lifestyle. Yes. It was terrible.
But in the end it wasn’t to be. I didn’t enjoy being Opie, and she didn’t reciprocate my uncontrollable inclination to propose marriage every time I saw her, so I made the decision to stop speaking with her. She never really understood why I stopped talking to her, and I never got the chance to explain myself. But that was that. When all is said and done, it wasn’t the continued weed habit that squandered my motivation to study for the rest of the school year and made me completely miserable— It was the girl.
4. GETTING PAID A LOT TO DO VERY LITTLE
In my HSC year I got a job collecting customer feedback for a major bank. Basically I’d call people up who were with the bank to do a 1 minute survey with them. Long story short: the job was a big fucking joke and it paid me a lot of money.
When I received my first pay check, it was like crack. I began getting addicted to doing shifts at this company while the money started pouring in.
Eventually I realised that working there took up basically all of my time- time that really should have been spent studying, or going to school, or buying an exercise book.
The good news that followed a tumultuous school year is that I got into University. Though I can’t help but wonder where I’d be if I actually bought an exercise book, or a pen, or if I focused on subjects that required effort, or if I kept to myself rather than speaking to that girl, or whatever, things would be different.
But you know, you can’t dwell on that shit.
Plus, I quit university anyway. I didn’t like the bus driver’s attitude.
Did you screw up high school as badly as I did? Was it because of a girl? Shoot me a response.