SPINNING MY WHEELS – PART THREE
Well, getting back to where I left off (well, actually, still today for me – I just kept writing. I didn't post yesterday as I was working on an unsolved cipher [actually, three of them]).
Year Eleven was also the year I did my first programming course. The local College used to do a thing called “Link Courses” where students from local high schools could go and do a college subject (even though we were actually too young to enroll in the college as proper students). So my first programming language (other than self taught basic) was Pascal. Even though I gave up an afternoon at school for this course, it didn't seem to affect my grades. I was one of only two students who passed the Mathematics subjects, my lowest mark in Geology was 96% (final exam) and my second lowest was 98% (mid semester exam), all others marks were 100%. In Chemistry I nearly did the same thing, but faltered a bit towards the end (my Chemistry teacher said it was because of the time I devoted to the school play). Physics was a schnozzles though. We had about four different teachers, and one teacher lost all our grades, and practicals. So everyone ended up with lower grades than they should have. My English teacher was impressed with me, and thought I should continue with it into year twelve, but losing my old dreams was paramount to pleasing my parents and other teachers. So year twelve I was put down for doing all Mathematics and all science. I was trying to ensure I got accepted into a Computer Science Course at one of the main Universities, so I was throwing out all Arts and Humanities type subjects.
Then, we moved states! So a new school. In New South Wales, I suddenly had a major problem. English was back on the card, but that was Okay, because Comp. Sc. Degrees required it in this state as a prerequisite. BUT, my beloved Geology was not taught at my new school. I was told, even if it was, i wouldn't' be allowed to do it, because I was already doing Chemistry and Physics. Only two Science subjects were allowed. They then had a big problem. I wasn't able to do any other subjects. So they stuck me in a Geography class, assuring me it was EXACTLY the same as Geology! Ptttthhh! What a LOAD of nonsense!
After a few classes in Geography, I realised, I didn't have a clue about what they were talking. Especially when they referred to work from the previous year. It was during this time, I discovered they had a MUSIC class! WOO HOO! Much to my parents regret, I switched subjects. Phew! At last, a class where I knew what they were going on about!
Unfortunately, everything was different this year. I was in a new state, and I was up against some pretty smart people. It was also confusing. At this school, they didn't have the skin heads and gangs of my previous school. Where I was used to having the daylights punched out of me at lunch, now, if people didn't like you ... they used sarcasm, or insults! Gees, when did people get non-violent. I must admit, it was a refreshing change not to be beaten to a pulp. I was not well armed against these other kids who were used to verbal sparing. (I was used to verbally insulting the skinheads at my old school when they beat the daylights out of me, but it wasn't hard to do. I just had to point out to people that it took four or five skinheads to beat up the smallest guy in school. It never stopped them ... but at least it embarrassed them a bit ... I hope!) Now I was in a different war. These kids were pretty good with their tongues. (No, I don't mean licking ice creams either. I'm still talking verbal assaults!)
Well, the course work was entirely different to the other state I lived in too. All the more Reason why Australia needs a consistent Education Curriculum and standard throughout. It was a hard thing to do, One of the worst things, was trying to master Calculus (which we never touched on in S.A. In NSW they start with Limits in Year 9 and almost the entire course is based upon it.)
You might wonder why I didn't try to stay in S.A. with some friends or something in order to stay on course. I was just relieved to get away from the skinheads and my daily bashings. Not that any of them went into year eleven. (I did have some run ins with them on the weekends though). The memories at that school though, were rather painful, and I was too happy to leave S.A. all together.
Well, after a year of struggle, and compromises with coursework (I won't go into it too much, but somethings I was asked to do, reduced my marks considerably. An example, was my music teacher only looked on me as a Classical Guitarist. As such, I performed four pieces at the end of the year, but she made me do it in three categories. You needed four categories, so I got marked down). Through a bit of laziness and also my mother's constant interruptions, I wasn't able to study too well. My mother was for ever dragging me along shopping and stuff, complaining I study too much. Problem was, I didn't get to much study done at all. I was forever helping her somehow.
The other problem was, my parents were fighting again. One day, my mother started an argument with me for no reason at all. During it, she threw a cup of coffee at my head. It smashed and there was also coffee all over my bedroom. She then demolished my bedroom throwing my textbooks and everything all over the room. My father, hearing the commotion, stormed into my room yelling at me. At this point, my parents had a physical fight. It wasn't punching, it was more wrestling and pulling of hair. Needless to say, this helped set off one of my depressions. (My bad depressions started in Adelaide, probably from thirteen. I can remember times in my childhood previous when I had unexplainable depressions, but as a teenager it came on pretty strong.)
My mother later came back and explained that the reason we had the argument, was that she was annoyed and frustrated over finding love letters from my father to one of his mistresses. My father was never able to keep his 'doodle' in his pants for long. I discovered around the age of eight what he was like. I used to hear my parents arguing at night when they thought we were asleep. My elder brother confirmed that he found out about the same time.
Well, at the end of the year, I hadn't attained the marks I was hoping for. I also discovered something else. I couldn't get into the college courses I was eligible for because you needed to apply for them in November. We received our marks in January. The only solution was to repeat my final year. It was a disappointing year for me considering the great year I had previously. Once again, we moved. This time it was from Sydney's Southern Suburbs, to their Northern Suburbs. I was so far from my friends, that if I wanted to see them, it was a two or more hour journey.
One good thing came out of moving. For the first time in my life, I had a room to myself. I wasn't always able to use it to get away, as my mother used to like to wake me about five hours after I went to bed. When I complained, she'd say I was tired from over sleeping.
This time, I did my final year through a college. The only good thing about doing it there, was that most of the other people were in the same boat as me, or worse. I also didn't get much choice in subjects. Music was out, Physics, Chemistry, English, Mathematics, and now I had to do Ancient History. Two years worth in one year. No problem. By the end of the year, I had blitzed Chemistry, which I studied for by myself. We started with a great teacher, but she was made to leave. They re-instated another teacher from the previous year back into the job. He was sacked for being incompetent. He won the court case, got re-instated. Only problem is, I think the courts made the wrong decision. We lost a good teacher and gained a bad teacher. I attended four of his classes, and found he really didn't give a hoot about the students, or about teaching us. He seemed to care more about his own ego. I wasn't learning anything, and the teacher didn't care. So, I did the only rational thing I could think of. I skipped the classes and started to study by myself.
I was surprised when I talked to some of the other students. They didn't seem to know much about the chemistry we were supposed to be learning. I gave the teacher a surprise when I came and picked up my mid-year exam. He didn't know who I was. Thank goodness for that. I wonder if he looked for me in his class after that? If he did, he wouldn't have seen me. When I spoke to some of my other class mates after the end of year exams, only about three of us passed. I scored 68%, while I'm unsure what the others got, but I was told a Canadian Guy named Randy got more than me. It's possible, Randy wanted to be a Doctor, and needed to study hard.
My Physics mark was more excellent 75%.
This year I had more than enough marks to get into what I wanted to. Most of my friends from school went to Sydney University to do Physics. One of them (At Sydney Uni.) convinced me that NSWIT (New South Wales Institute of Technology) was a better choice. So I placed that down as my first choice. I think Geology there was my second choice. Sydney University and Uni of NSW were much later choices.
It came the day that first round offers came out. I was offered a position at NSWIT for Geology but not for Physics. Darn. I had enough marks. Why wasn't I chosen? I waited for second and third round offers. Nothing. So I enrolled in Geology. I later became friends with a lot of the Physics students (mainly as first semester Physics/Chemistry/Geology and Material Science students all did the same four subjects). I was really upset to find out that one of the guys in Physics got about thirty marks less than me, yet was accepted in first round offers! When I spoke to a few other people, they also had less than me (and a lot had received more than me). So I went and complained to the University. They told me it had nothing to do with them. So I phoned the Universities Admission board. Their basic excuse was that it was probably a computer glitch. If I wanted to change courses, I should speak to the Universities direct. So I went back to the University. They couldn't do anything, because the course was full. Now I was really peeved!