On The Danger Of Future Plans

Great news! Remember a while back when I said I applied to co-op? Well, I got into the program, made what felt like a million job applications, did some interviews and I now have a job! I start in May and end the work term in December.

But something strange happened to me when I got a job for co-op.

I got lazy.

Prime example: I got a midterm back today. I didn’t do as well as I usually do on tests. I looked over it, saw mistakes, took note of what I did wrong, and then…forgot about it.

See, usually I care a great deal when my marks aren’t on par. I’m usually disappointed when I don’t do well. But I just didn’t care about this midterm. Even though I love this course, and I really want to do well in it.

The reason why I didn’t care anymore? I literally found myself thinking, “I have a job, I’ll be okay.”

That thought, that statement on its own, makes me cringe. I hate that I thought that. I hate it when others think like that.

I’ve always put pride in my work. I’ve always tried my best and found ways to improve when I didn’t do as well as I wanted. And I don’t want future plans getting in the way of that.

And yes, I could put the poor grades to stress about my other tests and finding a job. I could say that this is my first test with this prof and I’m not used to his test format. But I know that’s not the truth.

Having a sense of security in future plans is dangerous. The future is malleable in a very unpredictable way. And I can’t put all my hope and faith in it. I have to remind myself that I have to maintain my work ethic and pride in my work. That the present means something. That grades still mean something.

This seems kind of reverse of what we tell university students. Often students graduate and go into the quote unquote “real world” and discover that grades aren’t everything.

Sure, they aren’t everything, but they are, I’ve discovered, what helped me maintain my work ethic. I once explained to a friend of mine that I don’t see grades as numbers. I see them as a measure of my understanding. And I don’t want that going out the window just because I’ve got another  opportunity that is for all intents and purposes “secured” in the near future.

I’ve got two more midterms this week and I hope to do much better on them than I did in this class. In fact, I’m challenging myself to do better. (Which frankly won’t be too difficult since I really didn’t do as well as I wanted.) But that makes it even more imperative that I do well.

There’s a danger in future plans, but only if I allow it become one. And I’m not going to give it the chance.

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