Friday, April 4, 2008

Grouchy Gerta from Glendale Wants this Cheerleader To Save Herself, Not the World.

Cheerleader Charmaine is your garden-variety, over-scheduled Hot Mess Walking.

Having spent most of her life overwhelmed in extracurriculars thanks to Super Helicopter Mommy Who Lived Vicariously, she got to college and immediately joined every single club and org she was even vaguely interested in. She's the social butterfly with the maniacally cheerful demeanor, who is on every welcoming committee and working with outreach group. Whether it's a social or service organization, CC is there with her veneers at maximum sparkle and her bleached-blonde curls at maximum bounce.

Now, she's got a super-developed sense of social justice and a flair for campus activism. Clearly, she watched too many episodes of "Captain Planet."

She's so busy with extras that she regularly misses class and fails to turn in papers. All of this combines into a "D-" in my class. When I counseled her on attendance and homework, she told me that she couldn't possibly drop any of her activities. They're too important because the fate of the world is clearly in her French-manicured hands!

When (gently) told that her priorities might be better shifted towards academic work, rather than extracurricular activities, she was shocked --- SHOCKED! -- that I might value "inconsequential" grades in the face of saving the world.

When told that a fair balance needed to be found between activities and academics, she was outraged. What could be more important than crusading against global warming, social injustice and inequality?

When told she would end up failing if the quality of her work didn't improve, she collapsed into tears. Don't I want to help my fellow man -- don't I care that humanity is on the brink of utter destruction and only WE *meaningful squeeze and stare* can make the difference?

When did social conscience become an acceptable substitute for actual intelligence?