My teenage daughter long ago decided to do a Senior Project. A Senior Project was and is absolutely indispensable to her life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
And, because she waited until the very last minute (despite knowing the requirements and deadline for months), last week found her hustling to secure her internship.
There is much to say in defense of the eleventh hour. That little rush of adrenaline can actually make us more focused. Not that I have too much experience to draw from. I tend to be more of a planner. In fact, in four years, I only pulled an all-nighter once at college (well, only once because of schoolwork as opposed to partying or working a graveyard shift at my summer job). I had to write my thesis paper for "Aesthetics and Criticism in the Arts." This was years before word-processing, but only days before my graduation. I sat down with a 2-liter bottle of TaB and wrote the entire paper in one night on my portable electric typewriter. Not exactly my shining hour, academically. But, I did earn an "A" and a valuable lesson.
Procrastination isn 't always bad.
Of course, I never said as much to my own daughter.
She figured it out all on her own.
Anyway, there she was less than a week from the due date for all her materials and she didn't have an internship yet. Even my typically implaccable daughter was starting to worry.
She reached out to two potential sponsor organizations: a state-run animal rescue farm about an hour (several towns and three highways) away, and a therapeutic riding center somewhat closer by.
"What if I don't hear back from them soon enough?" she worried. I resisted my usual jump-in-and-fix-it approach to life (to her life). There were still a few days and I decided to let her solve it herself. Worst case, I rationalized, she could simply continue volunteering at the stable she's worked at for the past six years or so. It wasn't what she wanted, but maybe it would teach her not to wait so long next time.
Not this time.
The animal shelter did get back to her. Even better, they were thrilled by her interest and resume, and very eager to hear more about her "large animal" experience. In fact, they scheduled an interview for the very next day. She went, met with the stable manager and volunteer coordinator. They quickly agreed that the internship was a great idea all around. She left with signed Senior Project paperwork and a confirmed schedule for her six-week assignment.
When she had first set up the meeting, I'd immediately thought about how I could clear my own deck. "I'll go with you," I'd offered, thinking it would be a good time to catch up.
"No, thanks," she'd responded instantaneously. "I think it's better if I go by myself."
Of course it is, I realized then.
And, of course it was.
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