GEEK ALERT: The Summer School Class That Made Me Uber Productive

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I'm a proud geek.

In high school, I used to run off the school bus in the morning and race to the library to get one of the few library hall-passes that were granted each day.

If memory serves, there was only 6-8 available and I think 2-3 were ever used ... but that didn't stop me from running to get one every-single-day.


In Grade 9 I started reading and recording my school notes into a Sony Walkman. I would have tapes and tapes stacked up of all different subjects.

A teacher in Grade 8 had told me that to really learn something well you had to write it, say it, and then listen to it because we all learn differently.

I decided to do all three methods and each day on the way to school I would listen to my tapes on the bus while everyone else was screaming and gossiping.

What was wrong with me?  (joking of course)

I wrote an essay for the Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day contest and came in second ... had my name announced over the high school morning announcements for that one.

Later I found out that there were only two entries, LOL!

One day in History class the teacher asked me to dress up as Brian Mulroney with a full mask on and do a "Prime Minister visit" to the class to answer questions from students about government policy.

I think he thought I would be the only one to read what the current government policy was.

In Grade 9 I had a 93.5% average if memory serves.

In Grade 10 I think I had even higher.

Then I got my car in Grade 11 and let's just say the grades became less important very quickly ... I managed to get an 80% average in my last year with barely opening a book.

In one Grade 11 class, I'm pretty sure I got 99% ... partly because I realized the teacher was basing her tests on every third question throughout the textbook so simply began studying those exclusively.

I was a full out geek but I was also open to hacking the system apparently!

And I still am ... why else do we like studying economic policy so much?

Let's face it, it's a pretty geeky thing to do.

And it feels like hacking the "money system" when you understand what's going on in the world.

It's the reason we weren't "surprised and shocked" when the Bank of Canada cut rates earlier this year like the rest of the country was (just look back at our "Low Rates Forever" type blog posts).


Back to geekiness.

During the Summer after Grade 8 and before Grade 9 began I decided I should get a jump on high school and go to Summer School.

This was of my own doing.  My parents didn't convince me of this.

I just thought it was a smart thing to do.

So I signed up for "Keyboarding 101" and eagerly waited for the start of the class.

Little did I know that the class would be full of kids who had failed something in Grade 9 or Grade 10 and were taking this class in the summer as a makeup ... and they definitely did want to be there.

So when it was discovered that this little pre-high-school kid (me!) was there because he wanted to and not because he had to ... let's just say I didn't make many friends.

Not only did I not make any friends, I struggled in that class.

We used typewriters and the teacher would make us cover our hands with a sheet of paper taped to the typewriter and then doing various exercises.

For some reason it was tough.

And I knew it was tough because I was only getting 80% or 85% on the tests.

So naturally, I was freaking out.

At the end of Grade 8 I was awarded "Student of the Year" and this I figured getting anything less than 90% was no way to represent myself.

So I did what anyone would do when you were only getting 80% in a class ... I dropped out before the penalization deadline.

That's right, I said screw it, I'm outta here.

I even cried about it at home to our Mom.

How's that for geeking out?

Somehow, some way, our Mom convinced me to go back.

It was completely humiliating because I later learned that the teacher told the class I didn't come in one day and was crying at home about not doing well in the class.


Looking back that's another one of those classic childhood memories that I now cherish.

So I went back to this class and something clicked because I dominated it.

I began typing at a feverish pace.

I could type looking up at the ceiling, I could type while talking, I could type while standing.

At one point the teacher literally blindfolded us and I still typed up a storm.

And you know what?

Of all the various classes I took this Keyboarding Summer School Class has become one of the most valuable things I've ever taken.

During high school some friends would marvel at how quickly I could bang out some random project, typing it out like a madman on the computer.

My typing ability continued to serve me well right through high-school and into University.

And then during my software programming, technical support and sales engineering days.

When I transitioned into straight sales it came in handy as well.

I'd notice how some sales guys really struggled with communication because it took them forever to bang out an email so they resorted to short sentences which were could sometimes be perceived over email as rude and curt.

Then as I created my first few websites my typing skills really helped.

As we began working at creating Rock Star the ability to type fairly quickly was a real plus.

Newsletters, articles, emails, blog posts like this all get done fairly quickly.

I can type out exactly what I'm thinking, in quasi-real time.

Even today I get comments about how efficiently we get things done.

Much of that is because of our ability to type quickly.

So who knew.

Although math and English are supremely important subjects, the lowly Keyboarding 101 summer school class, has likely had the most direct daily impact on my personal productivity.

And looking back on all the crazy studying, library hall passes and Sony Walkman recordings I made ... I'm not at all bothered about being a geek at all.

In fact, I'm proud of it.

Let's wrap this up like this:

The base of being healthy comes down to eating very basic good whole food.

The base of being fit comes down to mastering some very basic movements.

The base of being productive in a digital world may also come down to mastering some of the very basic skills.

If you have some geeky-ness in you, listen to it, nurture it and follow it ... who knows how it will pay off!

Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!




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0 comments on “GEEK ALERT: The Summer School Class That Made Me Uber Productive”

  1. Your geek typing skills had a faux pas. In the first sentence of the wrap up you refer to "easting very basic good whole food." I believe you meant "eating".

    A very good article, by the way. Slow down and use your spell check (very tongue in cheek).

  2. Hey Tom,
    We're more alike than you think! I was so good in English and Math, I took Grade 13 English and Math in Grade 12 just to kill some time, but that Grade 9 typing class is serving me very well today. Who knew!

  3. LOL, we sure have a lot of fast typists in the group 🙂 I remember I even won a school-wide award (First Place) in Grade 12 for fastest typing 🙂

    In all seriousness, it is an awesome skill and helps tremendously to save a lot of time. My handwriting suffered a lot, though 🙁

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