“High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.” (Charles Kettering)
Many college students who I’ve taught basic reading/writing skills to as a Reading Professor in South Florida have experienced academic difficulty in my classes because of lack of self confidence and poor time management skills. Because of these factors, these struggling pupils would typically drop out from this course in desperate circumstances throughout the academic term. In this fictional story, a confused freshman female faces similar life challenges that cause her to question whether continuing to pursue a college degree would be worth her time. Yet her unexpected meeting on her job with a Hindu stranger will inspire a fresh scholarly commitment to succeed.
Esther never expected her menial work as a day time waitress at IHOP this fall would ever amount to much. Yet with her first brush of adulthood, she anxiously faced the financial challenge of supporting herself alone on her own. To her credit, however, Esther decided to find some extra time at night to take a few preparatory courses at the Community College part-time this semester.
Yet the “hands of time” would soon frustrate Esther in September as she brooded over this stressful “tug of war” of working so much by day and sitting in long classes at night. Perhaps she thought it would be easier to drop out of her classes which would give her some time to re-indulge in her nightly teenage habits as a TV “couch potato.” After all, what was so wrong it seemed to her about being lazy? Or an even better solution soon arose in her mind that she could end her current life predicament if her “well-to-do” boyfriend, Jehul, would only ask her to marry him. For the likely financial stability offered by their matrimonial bond would convince Esther to forego college for good.
As October arrived, Esther “bought in to” this enticing wedlock scenario as the best remedy for her current life doldrums. She began offering Jehul tantalizing thoughts of bringing her home to New Delhi in celebratory fashion where he would seek blessing for their burgeoning relationship from his family. She also would entice Jehul’s love interest during their weekend dates by learning some words in the Hindi alphabet and scribbling down a few phrases of warmness for him to understand. She thus expected it would only be a matter of time before he proposed marriage to her.
One day around Thanksgiving as she busily engaged in double shift duty at IHOP, an unexpected crisis emerged. For she immediately noticed a short man of obvious Indian descent intently staring at her at a table along the back wall of her serving area. As she uneasily moved toward him with a menu to take his order, he handed her a note that she assumed he had scribbled on this piece of paper. She soon gasped when she read the message as if he had read her marriage plotting mind.
“Madam: My brother Jehul should never marry anyone who does not live up to the high ideals of his Brahmin name. I would rather poison him with hydrangea bush potion than have him commit to an improper marriage of convenience with such a common person as you represent to him. For he must abide by his parents wishes to prepare single-mindedly for his true destiny as a learned individual of our sacred Brahmin caste. He must fulfill his destiny to unselfishly share his wisdom with others. You must not stand in his way. Namaste”
This unexpected encounter at IHOP empowered Esther with some refreshing words of wisdom to end the year. She now recognized that she had never really expected in the past to succeed in college. Beginning next term, life though would be different. For it was time to “raise the bar” for self growth in life and settle for nothing less than serving her # 1 priority. Jehul would soon be gone from her life as she resolved to better manage her work hours and complete her college degree full time in a timely fashion.