Once I got back to school after my time in the hospital, things were a little different. My attitude, for one thing, had changed quite a bit.
Growing up, I was always something of a perfectionist. I worked very hard to get good grades. It wasn't because my parents pushed me to get good grades, it was because I pushed myself. Deep down, I believe my motivation for that was that I didn't want to disappoint anyone, especially my parents.
In the hospital, somewhere along the way, I picked through the psycho-babble that was thrown at me for seven weeks and figured out that I didn't necessarily have to be perfect. Let me stress, I never thought I was perfect, far from it. But I pushed myself very hard to do the best I could.
So I learned that I didn't necessarily have to do my best and that my folks would still love me anyway. I also discovered that I didn't have to study so hard to get by in school. Sure, I could put forth the effort and get As, or I could do the bare minimum and pass with Cs while hardly paying attention at all.
This came into play during Earth Science. Ms. Brown was also the girls' soccer coach, and would entice students to attend games by offering extra credit to anyone who came. I was still doing pretty well in that class, and all my classes really, so I didn't really need the extra credit, but I went to every one of those soccer games.
Was it because I'm such a huge soccer fan? No. Don't get me wrong, I like soccer well enough. But there was a girl on the team that I kind of had a crush on. It was nice to be able to go to all the games while using the excuse of needing a few extra points on the next week's quiz.
I never had a chance to go out with that girl, nor did I think I would ever even get the time of day from her. But my presence at the soccer games was at least noticed. She would strike up conversations with me and ask if I would be at the next game. Not a big deal, I know, but to a shy kid that was afraid to even talk to her, it felt like a big deal.