Friday, December 18, 2009

Insight When You're Not Looking for It

I can honestly say that I now get the whole "too nice" and "too hard on self" comments I've gotten over the years. This insight has come during the most stressful time... studying for my worse subject's final.

I should clear up a couple of things. First of all... I don't actually hate math. I quite enjoy it, and I've been mostly teaching myself math for as long as I can remember. I do have the occasional tutor (shout out to Joe of Verbum Veritatis who's driven an hour out to where I live just to tutor me on whatever I don't get), but I mostly do things on my own. I did this during high school when I did independent study and I passed my math classes with flying colors. I don't know if I returned to school too soon after my father's death, if it's my ongoing anxiety/panic disorder, or if the many years between classes left me nervous... but something caused me to completely blank out during the on-ground exams. (side note: I am taking an 8 week Intermediate Algebra course that is considered a hybrid course -- I take exams in person and turn in homework online.) While I am doing very well on the online work (both homework and tests), I cannot figure out why I blank out during the exams. I've never had test anxiety (for any subject, including math) before so it's a little unnerving. It's really frustrating when you know the material, and well, yet when it comes time to actually doing the exam... nada. I've come out of several exams either excited because I knew the material and thought I did very well (only to have that confidence crushed like a bug) or I come out sobbing because I get so frustrated over the outcome of the exams. I mean, I go over the practice exams about 10 minutes before the actual exam and I KNOW the material. I don't understand why this is all happening... but it's been giving me some insight I wasn't expecting.

This whole semester has been a huge blow to my confidence as a student. While I did very well on half of my courses, two I didn't do well on... the ones where I had to actually attend campus for the lectures. Philosophy, well, though I'm sure I passed that one (based on past exams and papers written), I didn't do as well as I hoped because of my on-going "fight" with the professor. If he decides to give me something like a B or C, I'll gladly take it because at least then I know that I didn't have to compromise my beliefs just to get a high grade. I did as well as I could (as much as I could) knowing that the professor would mark down my papers because of our clashing beliefs. That one isn't such a huge blow as math... and only because math is the one in which I am not getting a grade based on the professor's beliefs, though I'm sure the professor doesn't like me either.

I do admit that I had NO real help from my math professor. Whenever I tried to talk to him about my problem, he was very dismissive of it. When I told him that the computer had changed my answers on a test, "not my problem. Even if you show the work, I can't give you points." At the end (as in a couple of days ago) when I went to a counselor who basically chewed him out after I present him proof, he wanted to help. Yeah, a little late there, buddy. Now I'm in the dilemma that I never thought I'd find myself in... if I don't pass the final, I don't pass the class. If by some miracle I don't blank out and i do pass the final... depending on what the percentage is determines whether or not I pass the class.

While working on the last couple of homework problems, something hit me... maybe I'm not meant to pass the class. Maybe this is all supposed to be some humbling experience for me since I've always been extremely confident about my success as a student. As I wrote a couple of entries ago (which I have yet to publish) maybe my failing this class (thus limiting my choices of where to transfer) is all part of God's plan for me. He knows I've overworked myself to the point where I've spent 12 hours a day just doing math... but maybe, if I don't pass this class, it's all going to be for some reason.

As I said in the beginning, while I am not looking for any insight regarding anything, I've been getting it. Yesterday, I got to put my saying "no" to the test. As my friends know, I don't like saying "no" to people when ask me for favors. When I do say I can't do something, a few people know that they can get me to do it with guilt trips. If I upset someone, or see them unhappy over something, I give in... even if I know it's selfish of them to do it. I just don't like disappointing anyone. Yesterday, I had to put my foot down on something (a Christmas party I was guilted into agreeing to; "you'll hurt my feelings if you don't go") because I wanted to study. Of course, the guilt trips started but I held firm to my decision. It occurred to me that this happened quite often -- that I've let my wanting to help others and/or make others happy while neglecting my own wants/needs. Taking care of my own needs (in this case, trying to come out of Intermediate Algebra alive and relatively sane) has pointed things like this (giving into others' requests) to me. I love helping other, and or even simply making them happy, but I have noticed that people really take advantage of that.

I've also become well aware of what at least 4 priests have told me... I'm too hard on myself. Failing my on-ground exams, I automatically cry because I am angry at myself for blanking out and/or not remembering certain equations. Lately, I've also been really hard on myself regarding my dad. For some reason, I've started being really angry at myself because I feel like I didn't do enough for my dad... as if there was something I could to save him. Many hours have been spent crying lately due to this. I get it Fr. Leo (R.I.P.), Fr. Alexander, Fr. James, and new priest whose name I didn't catch -- I am certainly too hard on myself, even when I know things are beyond my control. This is something that will go on my New Years Resolutions list.

See what God shows you when you are least expecting it? I'm grateful for this insight, especially right now, because things were (pardon my language) sucking for me. I've spent weeks in a very depressive mood that not even my best friends have been able to get me out of. Am I still mourning over dad's death (which I am clearly not over; I still cry whenever I talk about how he passed away) or did the second half of the year just finally catch up with me with the rest of the stress I've been under lately? I guess only time will tell. All I know is that all this insight has actually made me loosen up a bit about school... and it's helping me grow as a person, which is great.

Wow, I did not anticipate to write this long so I will stop shortly. If you've read this far, congrats... you might be the only one. lol. I hope to have more (possibly shorter) blogs soon. I have 4 I've written in the past two weeks (really good ones, too... ones that people might not expect from me) but they'll have to wait until finals are over on Sunday.

I guess that's it for now. I've got a slightly raised temperature that I want to take care of before I continue my battle with math homework. 693 problems (not counting extras I've done, the practice exams, and the actual exams) in 8 weeks... WHO does that? Oh right, my professor. lol.

I hope everyone had a great week thus far! As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

1 comment:

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Anytime Emmy, anytime, that's what i'm here for...