“Brad, put down the cleaning equipment, nobody needs to get hurt.” –Brad’s Second Year Roomate
In college, the end of the first semester of my sophomore year was nearing when the urge to clean my dorm room struck. This would have seemed like a good idea but for two reasons. First, it was 2:30 in the morning. Second, my last final exam of the semester was scheduled to begin at 9:00 that coming morning.
The course was an elective, Contemporary Issues, and the approaching final held no fear for me. True, the exam was worth 50% of the entire course but there could be no wrong answers on this test. It required us to share our opinions on issues of a contemporary nature. That had never been a problem of mine; on paper I would gladly share my opinions. Besides, any score higher then 18 would guarantee me a pass in that course. I couldn’t loose.
So, being young and energetic, also knowing that it would greatly annoy my roommate, I chose to vacuum in the wee hours of the morning.
Sleep came much later and was abruptly interrupted by urgent knocking on my door. It was 9:45 AM and Norb, a classmate, walked in with a worried look. He had completed the two hour exam in about forty minutes and then realized I was missing from the exam room. “Brad, you slept in!” Blurry-eyed and still content in sleep’s embrace I focused on my clock to read upon its face that my friend spoke the truth; indeed, I had slept in.
I determined the exam’s thirty minute grace period for tardy stragglers had expired, and to the surprise of my fellow classmate set out on an unexpected plan of action. I mumbled, “Oh well,” shrugged, rolled back into bed, pulled the blankets up over me and requested that he remember to close the door behind him on the way out. As sleep quickly reclaimed me and dreams welcomed me back to their kingdom I had one last, irritating thought, my friend hadn’t even noticed how clean my room was.
That afternoon I sat waiting in the office of the Academic Dean. I had crawled out of my bed just before lunch and now, with a knotted stomach, the reality of what I had done was striking home. Not only had I just missed the exam, doing so meant I had also flunked out of the entire course. The Dean explained that if I had come to him when I had first woken he might have been able to get me in to write the test – blast that supple seduction of sweet slumber- but now, in the afternoon light of December’s chill, it was too late for any intervention on his part.
I took a deep breath and audibly resigned myself to the task of repeating the course again next year. The Dean looked at me puzzled and asked why. “Brad, you already have gained the knowledge from that class. Why waste your time doing it again? Take this opportunity to do something new.”
It’s New Year’s Day, 2012. 2011 is complete and past. For me it has been an extremely different year. A roller coaster of a year, and for the most part I simply grabbed hold tight and enjoyed the ride. There were times these past 12 months when I should of been sleeping at 3 AM instead of using the vacuum; saving my cleaning for the brightness of the day.
Because of that, on this first day of 2012 I am offered a choice. Do I spend this new year trying to make up for, fix, change, repair, erase, cover up or gloss over the experiences of the past twelve months? Or, like that time in the Dean’s office nearly 30 years ago, with the knowledge I’ve gained take this opportunity and do something new?
New is good.