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"Murphy was an optimist!"

My Sunday – a week at the University August 24, 2008 7:43 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cathy, Daily Life, Education, Family, Health, Of Being Dad, Tommy
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I woke up this morning before everyone else and promptly began programming. As the morning wore on, Tommy’s departure time to return to school neared. His grandparents and Noah were to take him back to the University. Granny has not seen the campus and Noah was under the impression that it looked a lot like Hogwarts. I found a round tuit and decided to look at Tommy’s laptop which I’d been ignoring for work. LMU has 3 websites the students are required to use; a web-based email client (no pop3 or imap enabled on the exchange server which bites so I have been unable to setup GMail to check the Outlook Webmail), a blackboard (basically a portal by which professors can communicate with the students by posting assignments, slides, links, documents, etc), and a webadvisor (effectively a forum for the students to communicate as well as listings of groups, activities, etc on campus). The fourth website is a public calendar announcing events, activity schedule, and so forth. Tommy had looked at none of these. He had administrative e-mail a week old. He an assignment from a professor being ignored. And to top if off, I counted 30 hours of Internet gaming! Basically, if he wasn’t in class, he was playing games on the Internet. Two nights the gaming did not stop until 12:30am. I was beyond angry!

Now, in Tommy’s defense, this was first week of school, first week of not being under mommy and daddy’s thumb, first week of true independence. I am sure that many freshman behave this way. Also, Tommy has to figure out how to take in this new world which is overwhelming to him and a safe haven is his gaming. I simply fear Tommy falling behind and not being able to catch up.

So after a couple of hours of yelling, tears, and lectures, to which I am certain Tommy turned a deaf early early on, I installed some software to track his usage of ALL software, not just the Internet. (Thanks Tim!) I started to do some tricks to redirect certain gaming sites to education sites but really could not afford the time away from work so Tommy and I came to an agreement. At first the agreement was that the laptop would not go back to the University until he showed some seriousness about his studies; however, the laptop is a requirement of the university. We laid out some pretty clear expectations for Tommy and he is being given another chance. If he messes up, I will be severally crippling that laptop. Cathy will be spending this week on the phone with Tommy. I believe we also need to consider some serious NASA level check lists for Tommy. 1) Open eyes 2) Yawn (note: if yawn does not come from mouth, you could still be asleep, return to step 1) 3) Scratch 4) Sit up…

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