November 19, 2014

Yesterday in horticulture class we switched subjects again. Now we’re studying landscape and design. We started by moving around all the desks in the classroom, giving every student enough room to set a large wooden board, with T-squares for drawing our designs at each desk. Each of us were given a box with our name on it that was filled with the proper material and supplies for creating our design projects. Surprisingly enough, many of the other students were not happy about this. Maybe it’s because I’m so artistic and I love to draw and design that I’m so excited about this new subject of study, plus it’s a big change from what we’ve been learning over the last four months. Since we first started, we’ve learned so many different things, from the biology of trees and plants, to soil structures, the process of photosynthesis, the effects of climate change, seasons, memorizing hundreds of plant and tree names in English and Latin, the damage from pests, memorizing and identifying each of these pests, the damage they cause and how to get rid of them efficiently, memorizing plant diseases and when to use chemicals to treat them, or just let nature take its course. I’ve learned so much more than this and I can break each of these subjects down into an intellectual topic of discussion, and I can do this because I love what I’m learning, I’m fascinated with plants and nature, it’s comforting and therapeutic for me. This new subject is something our instructor is teaching us, not because it’s going to be on the ONLA test, it’s not a part of the test at all. Our instructor believes that this is a valuable skill to have in the industry, enabling us to create a vision on paper that will allow a potential customer to see and understand what we’re projecting more clearly. Many of the other students don’t care to learn this because it’s not going to be on any of the four tests at the end of the course. I personally believe that this is a silly way to view our future prospects for success upon release. So once again I chose the desk at the front of the class, closest to the view of our teacher so that I don’t have to worry about any distractions or missing out on any valuable information. I take pride in everything I do; it’s a part of my addictive, perfectionistic personality which has both benefits as well as burdens. I know in my heart that I have no need for validation from others to continue on this new path, making responsible decisions, keeping my education a priority for the success of my future, but I would be lying if I said it doesn’t feel good get a pat on the back from people like my instructor, recognizing me for my hard work and commending me for doing so. I also know that I’m only doing what any responsible person has already been doing for years, but when you’ve spent a lifetime skipping class to get high, failing school, making poor choice after poor choice, living a life that reflects so many failures, recognition for responsible decisions becomes more rewarding and motivation for continuing this path.

Steven Dybvad

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