The first real high school event at which I performed a song was the Christmas Concert when I was in the twelfth grade. I sang an a cappella rendition of Boyz II Men's Let It Snow. There were lights, cameras, and a full audience that listened intently and applauded loudly. The experience was intoxicating.
I still remember auditioning for this event. After having been called "too operatic sounding" in my then-most recent audition, I was really nervous as I walked into a room to sing for the Principal and the Chemistry teacher. They were, after all, tremendously talented singers, themselves. But I did it. And I got the 'ok' to perform in the show.
I was so excited and nervous that all I did was rehearse. The trouble was that I had an English paper due on the same day as the performance. My choice was clear when I performed preparedly, and afterward asked my teacher for an extension.
This is the first memory I have of failing to meet a deadline. I risked my average for a performance. I was lucky that time because my teacher enjoyed my performance and she gave me the extension without penalty. She said she understood. I felt guilty at the time for asking for and accepting her mercy, thinking I deserved the consequence of a penalty for the late submission. I had this crazy idea instilled in me that "the real world" (i.e. life after high school) wouldn't afford me such leniency, and that I shouldn't get used to it.
I've found that high school, through its [seemingly] arbitrary rules, deadlines, and punishment, gives us a false impression of "the real world". I understand the utility in their enforcment, especially on impressionable youth and adolescents. However, the truth is, it's only ever become increasingly clear to me how institutions and organizations are all run by people, and all people have the potential to be very understanding...