My first thought?
“Lalla, you’re killing me!”
Two weeks of being sick, preceded by my daughter’s wedding, had left me feeling the need to accomplish just the bare minimum (quality, it goes without saying, but nothing in excess). Plus, the assignment was annotations–not exactly a Prezi or other multimedia artifact or even an inspiring paper. We had practiced the week before–and commented at length on each other’s attempts at perfection–and I thought most of us had accomplished the goal.
Until I asked the professor to give us feedback so that the “for real” annotations we would submit the next week would be deserving of nothing less than “Outstanding.”
The professor’s comments on my friend Lalla’s practice annotation led to a flurry of posts on the forum, her attempting to meet his criteria, him giving more feedback, until finally, her post titled simply “Better?” getting the response, “Lalla, you hit this out of the park with your revision. Nice job.”
Frankly, I thought Lalla’s final practice annotation went well over and above the example annotations we had viewed prior to attempting our own. It not only included the requisite citation, summary, evaluation, synthesis, and personal insight, but it also included additional insight from other studies and those citations as well. Really? Needing a reference page at the bottom of an annotation?
Her over-the-top assignment–mind you, I considered my original assignment completed “as is” and was ready to move on–made me realize that not only did I need to rework (read that as “do additional research and then rewrite”) last week’s assignment but I had to do much more work on this week’s than I had originally planned.
So, really, my first thought was to tell Lalla, the chronic overachiever, “Stop it already!”
After all, I’m sick and tired.
But my second thought was “Thank you!”
I am nothing if not competitive, and people like Lalla constantly push me to be better, often better than what I think I can do. Today, certainly better than what I want to do.
The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
The process isn’t necessarily pleasant, but the end result is. To be honest, Lalla’s “over-the-topness” isn’t just pushing me to work harder; it’s pushing me to recognize flaws in my character, namely my pride and fears, and it’s pushing me to rely on God’s strength rather than my own (which, of late, isn’t much!).
As much as I may want that “Outstanding” grade from my professor, what’s more important is that I learn what’s being taught, both from my college professor and my heavenly Father, the ultimate professor.