What Lies Beneath

Today we finish up the avian gifts in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with the generous offering of seven swans a-swimming. If you’re feeling stressed, take a minute-and-a-half to enjoy these amazing birds:

While the swans appear to glide effortlessly across the water, there is actually a lot of activity going on beneath the surface. A peek at these ducks will illustrate:

Again and again, I’ve had students who appeared to their classmates to glide through A&P, garnering top grades with little effort. Many of these same students have shared with me their sense of frustration at their peers’ naivete. Take Tracy, a quiet, diligent young woman who spoke with a soft Caribbean accent. Because she was so quiet in class, it took her classmates quite awhile to figure out that she was, in fact, the student who was scoring the highest grade on every exam. One day after class, she shared her feelings about this with me, saying something like this:

“Dr. D, I get so tired of people assuming that I learn all this without working hard.  I have four kids, and I can’t even settle down to study most nights until around ten o’clock.  And then I really focus on learning. Where I am from, education is a privilege you have to earn, not something that you’re just given. Some of these people don’t realize what a gift they’re being given.”

Many of my foreign-born students have shared similar points of view. Some older American-born students express regret that they squandered earlier educational opportunities and are determined to make up for lost time.  Like those swans, they are beautiful to behold.

Underneath, they are paddling like mad.  I love them for it.


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