Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Hello from the Land of Failure
I'm not happy that I've failed a course that I loved nor I have to leave such a wonderful program. Seriously, I wouldn't trade my 10 weeks (that's how long their quarters are) at JP Catholic for anything in the world. Dr. Barber and Dr. Kincaid taught me more about theology and philosophy in 10 weeks than I've learned in nearly 10 years since my reversion. If you're thinking about studying for an MA in Biblical Theology, I highly recommend their program!
I think the reason why I'm not kicking myself or why I'm not lamenting the lost opportunity is because I've reminded myself that everything happens for a reason. I know some of you absolutely loathe that phrase but I'm a firm believer in it. I may not know the reason why things happened the way they did but I believe that God will help me see where I need to go from here.
It's not like I failed because I played played video games instead of studying. Granted, I probably did waste some time (10 minutes or so) working on puzzles every once in a while but I think I spent more time studying these past couple of weeks than I have in years. Do I need to remind you guys of how I spent weeks leading up to the start of the quarter in and out of the hospital, recovering from minor surgeries? How my platelets plummeted and how my anemia returned once I started the quarter? How my stomach felt like it was going to explode from 3 a.m. the morning of orientation until about 3 p.m. after Joe and I had gotten back to L.A. from Escondido? How I had that terrible car accident two weeks into the quarter that put me behind on my coursework for the rest of the quarter? How my spiritual director quit on me (general consensus amongst friends and family is confusion over that whole situation) only two weeks ago? How I've had major problems with our new building manager the past two weeks and how my own personal safety is now at risk? Wait, I don't think I've shared that last one on the blog yet... Not to mention that every single time I tried to study over the past couple of weeks, something would derail me. Those following me on Twitter know exactly what I mean. Not my choice to waste my time, y'all.
All the "bad luck" I've had lately has been like a series of spiritual attacks, haven't they? I've had enough people say it to make me believe that all these events were just a way to derail me from the Biblical Theology MA path. It certainly seems that way, at least. Things that were out of my control popped up all the time, especially over the past two months (time from car accident forward).
I'm not quitting grad school. At least, it won't be my decision to leave JP Catholic. The school has a C- policy -- if you get anything under a C (C- and under) and you're automatically dismissed from the program. I was informed of that prior to final exams because I asked if I could just repeat the one course I won't pass. I knew I wouldn't have the time to catch up with all the work and knew that the probability of my not passing was high. I put in full-time work hours (and then some) per week. I think I put in a couple of 18 hour days whenever a paper was due just so I could meet the deadline. I lost weight (I'm down to 112 lbs -- my smallest since I was a teenager and quite underweight for my 5'7" height) and I lost sleep trying to catch up. I gave it the old "college try," Oh, what a great idiom for this, lol. I'm proud of myself for fighting against time. The time crunch was real, y'all. I lost maybe 4 or 5 total weeks due to everything that happened post-accident. I studied until my head ached. Sometimes I would fall asleep with my laptop onto of me during the day because I would work until almost 4 a.m.
I fought temptation. I had so many opportunities to cheat on the quizzes and the final exam but I didn't. We took our exams online. Do you know how easy it is to cheat on exams online? Sure, they have software that lets them know if we open up a new tab on our browser during the exam but they can't know whether we used handwritten notes or not, even after they said no open notes. I could've had the chance to take a quick peek to jog my memory. It would've been so easy. The thought popped up in my mind at least once with each quiz and the final exam. The temptation was there... it was hard... but the Holy Spirit helped me resist. They (JP Catholic administration and professors) had full faith in us to do the right thing and I wanted to honor that. I didn't want to insult my professors, myself, or God (and, obviously, not in that order) by cheating. My memory didn't want to cooperate with me. It happens.
Unless the administration decides to give me another chance at JP Catholic -- fully knowing my situation; I've kept them in the loop since an hour or two after I was released from the hospital after my accident -- I'm officially done with grad school. What does this mean for me? Well, we'll see. There are Plans B, C, and D but first there are a couple of things I need/want to do.
First, my immediate goal is to get myself healthy again. I need to regain that weight I lost (I was up to about 122 a few months ago), eat more iron-rich foods to raise my red blood count (and thus kick anemia in the tush), and do whatever else needs to be done to get myself healthy again. Without health, I'm going to be useless in the workforce, especially if that works will have me away from the house.
Second immediate goal: look for and apply to jobs that I can do from home. My car is still getting fixed (thankfully Alli raised a good amount of $ to get my car fixed on GoFundMe; yes, donations are still being accepted since we still have to pay about $500 out of pocket at this point) so transportation isn't easy. Why do you think I've lost so much weight? I haven't had the chance to grocery shop with my limited diet and my limited time; I have to drive twice as far just to get foods I can eat and that isn't easy without a car. One of my best friends has already found a job listing for something that suits me to a T but since it's not guaranteed, I'm going to be putting out feelers. Yes, I'm still applying for the job (which I can do from home) and hope that I get it because, really, it's exactly what I would've wanted even if I had finished the MA program. Thankfully it's something that I don't need the MA for, too.
Third goal: finish my third novel and figure out the fourth. Oh, I have plenty of ideas bouncing around my head for at least two more novels. I'm not going to sit around and do nothing while I wait to find a job or while I try to regain my health. I'm also going to try to shop them around to literary agencies and publishing houses instead of taking the self-publishing route. I love to write. One of my best friends says it's one of the strengths (though I don't see it, lol) so why not try to do something with it once again? At least I know that going the "content mill" route is not for me.
There you have it... my thoughts at half past midnight on the day of my last final. Oh, don't worry about this one. It's a Philosophy paper on William of Ockham, Descartes, and Spinoza. Writing essays is my academic forte. I just need to edit it and go into the book for citations before I turn it in. At least I'll pass one course (the hardest of the two, ironically) this quarter. :)
Thank you to everyone who prayed for me during the quarter. I know some of you prayed really hard for me. Please don't think that prayer didn't help because it did. I've been so peaceful (even in the really stressful moments) that my own mother says she doesn't recognize me. lol. Seriously, no panic attacks or anything. Maybe it didn't help in terms of passing the exam but it certainly helped me not lose my marbles or commit a serious sin in the process. We'll just have to pray and see what God has in store for me next. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D