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. . . . .