Semper Paratus

As a Boy Scout (I am an Eagle Scout), I learned to live by the Scout motto “Be Prepared.”  I should’ve taken that motto more to heart when I went off to college. . . .

The first week of my freshman year — I was in a beginning political science course with the dour and very serious Dr. Erickson.   Dr. Erickson had assigned the class to review something-or-other for the next class.   However, given the newfound freedom of being away from home for the first time at the age of 17 (I had skipped a grade), and given the wide world of temptations that lurked, I walked into class that day without having read a word of our assigned project. 

Dr. Erickson droned on – and on – walking back and forth – as I stared out the window on a warm September afternoon.  Pondering my freedom and possible exploitation of it.  Suddenly I was distracted when I heard my name.  “Mister Petersen” he said.  “Please explain [yadda yadda].”   I hadn’t a clue.  So I spoke up easily “I’m not prepared” and I went back to looking out the window.

Mister Petersen . . . . stand up.”  Huhh??  “Stand up Mister Petersen.”   I stood.  “Soooo. . . .you’re not prepared.  You’re not prepared today.  So you probably won’t be prepared tomorrow.  Or next week.  Or perhaps ever.”  Sweat began dripping down my neck . . . . “I feel sorry for you Mister Petersen.  You might try . . . at least try . . . to be prepared.”  

Lesson learned.  From that day on, I was prepared.  Oh and Dr. Erickson?  He became my mentor and faculty advisor.  Poly sci was my major.   Semper paratus. . . . .  

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