Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Smiled When I Failed

I failed twice in a row and I'm absolutely grateful that I did. That probably sounds weird, doesn't it? I should probably explain my mentality behind this...

As most of you know, I've been back in school for three weeks now. I've had major tests for three of my five courses, with the fourth major exam coming up next week. I've studied to the point where my head aches and my hand hurts from all the note taking. I've given up all socializing so that I can spend my entire day studying. I aced my first exam on Morphology with a 97%. I was so excited. I took my Phonetic test an hour later... and failed. 68%. Ouch. I only had (less than) 24 hours to cram 123 terms for my anatomy exam yesterday. I spent hours doing it. I made my own flashcards (yes, hand wrote all 100+ of them). I went over them a number of times and managed to memorize most of them. Unfortunately, the exam covered most of what I didn't manage to memorize. Of course. 67%. Ouch again. Instead of feeling like a failure, I smiled and shrugged it off. Do you want to know why? No, not because I don't care (the overachiever in me isn't thrilled)... or because I've lost my mind. I did it because I've been trying to trust God more... and that includes being okay with failing once in a while.

I'll be honest here: the reasons why I passed one test but not the other two were very simple: I didn't manage my time right and I overstudied. Boy, did I overstudy. I learned from the gals in the post-baccalaureate program that my professors tend to pick exam questions based mostly on the lectures they give (which I did watch); that reading the textbook is pretty useless. Guess where I focused most of my studying on for one course: the textbook. I had way too much information crammed into my brain that I didn't actually need, which I'm sure meant I confused a couple of things on the exams. Okay, so that's out for next time. Also, I needed more time to study the anatomy terms. I thought I was going to have at least three full days to study for it; I only had less than 12 hours to do it because important things popped up and I simply had no time to study like I wanted. Problems identified and solutions planned.

So, again, why the smiling? Because I saw the whole thing as a metaphor for my life: I've had a lot of "tests" in my life that I've failed but I've always managed to overcome them with the help of God. I handled certain situations in my late teens and early 20s very poorly. Did I give up? No. Did God give up on me when I was being a rotten brat? Nope. When you love something (or someone), you don't give up on it (or them) easily. We as human beings continually fail at doing little things. That's why we have the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation. It doesn't mean that we're failures; it just means we have to work a little harder where we have weaknesses. (For the record: the thing that will continuously land me in the confessional is being not completely nice when I feel I'm put into danger by reckless drivers. I don't cuss but... sarcastic remarks can border on my being a brat with lack of charitable words.)

By the way, if you're asking if I prayed to St. Joseph of Cupertino that I pass my exams, I did. Yes, I certainly did... but he's not going to intercede for me if I don't put more of an effort into it. He actually did come through for me with Morphology so he gets props for that! I'm actually happy I didn't miraculously pass because I didn't deserve to pass. I needed to fail so that I could find a better plan of attack for the next couple of exams. I'm not going to give up on finding new ways to memorize things for certain classes, especially now that I have an idea of what the professors add on the exams. Am I going to be bugging the Holy Spirit for a clearer mind for the rest of my program (until May 1st, 2015)? You bet! I'm sure the Holy Spirit and a couple of saints won't mind if I spent a little more time in prayer, asking for their intercession. It'll be a better use of my time than studying things I won't need in exams ;)

I've never been as happy studying as I have been these past three weeks. I've actually caught myself smiling when working on lecture notes, when my hand is cramping and I have to pause the lecture video. I have a real passion for this subject; much more than I ever anticipated. Sure, the work is hard (um, hello, I failed two exams... and I wasn't the only one who tanked them either according to classmates) but I absolutely love it. Even if it means I'm going to have to work even harder, I don't care. I've never felt more sure of my path in life than I do now. I do have moments of doubt ('cause you-know-who loves sneaking those in when you least expect it), but I am trusting God with my path. If I don't end up passing my courses, despite all my best efforts, it's because I'm meant for another path... and I will let God lead me down that path. Still, I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be and I will work as hard as necessary to make sure I achieve my goal (which is a Masters degree in Communicative Disorders aka Speech-Language Pathology). A little hard work never hurt anyone. :)

And that's where I'm currently at. I do have a ton of homework and a big exam for this week and into next week but I will hopefully have a little more free time now that I've figure out what works (less textbook, more lectures) and what doesn't (overstudying textbooks).

Anyway, that's all I wanted to share today. I still have another 20 minutes left of lecture to get through and I want to at least get the notes done tonight so that I can go over them a couple of times before my exam next Tuesday. :) I will try to blog tomorrow but we'll see how I am with time. :)

I hope y'all have been well! If you have any prayer requests, feel free to send them my way. I'm still praying and doing novena despite all the studying I've been doing. ;)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D

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