Autobiography in the Style of Benjamin Franklin
At the age of 13 I graduated from that good institution where I had been a scholar for many of my childhood years, and at 14 began attending the new school I and my parents had selected. From the start I found myself in strikingly different society, yet soon had the good fortune of becoming acquainted with several ingenious and good-natured scholars of my age. I was surprised to meet like-minded individuals so quickly, but then, the student body was large compared to the smaller congregation that had frequented my previous place of education, so mathematically it was logical there would also be a larger number of students disposed to my sort of conversation.
Due to this large student body, the organization of classes was different than my previous experience. Rather than the students being divided into equal groups so as to attend classes together, each individual’s schedule was unique. I soon found myself needing to pay far more attention than previously required to where I was supposed to be, and at what time. In my schedule also were more segments of unscheduled time than I had been used to, during which I would begin the work assigned in classes. While I did learn to use this time advantageously, there were also undoubtedly moments when I would cease work on my tasks—most memorably, when a friend and I took it upon ourselves to rescue a number of balloons from a teacher bearing an unforgiving pair of scissors.
I even now do not consider these breaks from labor to have been improper, for continued use of a dulled mind shall ne’er sharpen. And, twas often my mind was worn of its keen edge, as there were many requirements to be daily fulfilled. The number of academic subjects I studied now numbered five, as opposed to the previous three at one time. And, although each supposedly distributed but forty-five minutes’ labor at the most, I discovered the magnitude of work assigned to rather dispute this presumption. But, then, there were also days when few classes were held, perhaps three on a good day, two classes on every second Thursday.
The building itself in which these classes were held was not especially large, but its various hallways did at first give me pause. I learned on my first day of a particular staircase which would lead me to a classroom, and from thence on proceeded to use this staircase, unaware of another far closer to where I stored my belongings until partway through the year. Indeed, for quite a while I would walk past the unknown stair, continue for half the length of the school until I reached the other, then would walk back along the second story until gaining the classroom. A friend who also attended this class eventually enlightened me.
It took me not long to learn to judge time by bells, although sight aught always to be trusted above the other senses. There was an occasion when I had believed my time for lunch had but barely begun, when the teacher of the class I had next informed me that I could bring my victuals to the class were I to run out of time to eat them. Catching sight of the clock, I realized a mistake had somehow been made and proceeded to eat hurriedly. An explanation never appeared for where that hour had escaped too, and a friend who experienced this along with myself wondered at it as well. It was lucky I had been notified of the mistake, else I might have committed that infraction I diligently worked to avoid, and missed a class.
My new daily routine was greatly altered from what it had previously been, and several adjustments occurred in my way of thinking and personality. My responsibilities required me to advance myself in that trait, to think more often of time, and my productivity therein. I was certainly more communicative, as I had a continual stream of emails that needed viewing and occasional responses. I generally found that I adapted well to a new environment, an encouraging sign for future endeavors. What was most helpful in the transition was the routine, the reliable schedule which permitted me the complete ability to plan and assess. It is good for me to recognize such a quality in a system as helpful to me, for understanding the workings of one’s own mind helps it to run all the smoother.