Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Well, it's KIND of funny

I shouldn't have promised a funny story, when really it's funny in a very particular, some might say slightly pathetic, kind of way.

So I'm working away at my library technician diploma, one course at a time, right? And a lot of these courses are about stuff that I've had little or no exposure to, and the learning curve can be steep. But I'm fairly intelligent (shut up, I am so) and I work through them and it eventually comes clear and I generally get between 93 and 97 percent on a course because I am and always have been a keen, anxious, overly perfectionist student. A couple of times I've emailed in assignments and felt like I hadn't done terribly well, either because the assignment was, in fact, difficult and I wasn't sure of my answers, or because it seemed too easy and I worried that I'd missed something (I tend to overthink things, in case you hadn't noticed). Every time this happened and I talked about it, I felt sort of embarrassed when the assignment came back and I HAD done well. We all knew those people in university who got all hyper about every exam or essay or lab and said "OH MY GOD, I'm TOTALLY going to fail" when in fact the worst thing that probably could have happened was that they would get an A instead of an A plus, and even THAT probably wouldn't happen. I like to think I wasn't quite that person, but I'm not entirely sure.

So. The course I'm taking this term (Subject Analysis and Classification) is HARD. Remember the rousing pep talk our instructor gave us at the beginning? Well, she wasn't kidding. The first assignment, which was on Library of Congress subject headings, went fine - I got about 80, which was fine with me. Then we started on Dewey Decimal numbers. Now, numbers are not really my friend at the best of times. I try not to talk about how bewildering I find a lot of math stuff, because Eve loves math and is good at it, and I hate the 'girls are bad at math' stereotype, but the fact is, I'm a girl, and I'm not great at math, it's a fact. And this isn't math, but it involves charts and graphs and  there are these schedules, and from the schedules you go to tables, and then you go to other tables, and then you put all these numbers together to form big long other numbers, and there are rules with seventy-five exceptions and it is labyrinthine and counterintuitive and it does NOT make me want to sing Oh Sweet Mystery of Life At Last I've Found You.

I did something I hardly ever do with schoolwork. I went into denial. Things were busy, and I didn't feel like I could gain much ground with the short periods of time I had, so I figured I'd wait until Matt was away this week and a couple other things were done, and I would take the kids to school in the mornings and take a few days to get caught up on the exercises and then work on the assignment which was due next Sunday.

We had a great week-end. Friday we watched a backlog of Modern Family and Big Bang Theory episodes on the PVR. Saturday we went to our friend's 40th birthday party, which was a blast. Sunday morning Matt left and I was noodling at the computer before picking up Eve at one friend's house to take her to another friend's birthday party. I casually checked the course schedule just to make sure I was on track for what I had to do this week.

And I saw that the assignment was actually due LAST Sunday. Like, TODAY Sunday. Like, in ten HOURS Sunday.









I stared at the date, checked the calendar, stared at the date some more. I thought, I wonder why I don't feel worse. Maybe I'm in shock. Why don't I feel worse? Why am I not hyperventilating?

Then I realized, hey, I'm not in shock. I'm a grown-up. I screwed up. It's one assignment in one course. It's not the end of the world. I'll take Eve to her party then I'll come home and crack the books, and I'll get as much of the assignment done as I can, and I'll go from there. I probably won't fail the course, and even if I did, the only sucky thing would be losing the money and having to take this bitch of a course again.

Personal growth, I'm telling you. HUGE personal growth.



So I did all that stuff, and the first part of the assignment went not abysmally, if not swimmingly. The second half was much worse. We were supposed to reverse-engineer these incredibly long numbers, and I got the first two, but after that I could get to maybe the second decimal place and then I was stuck. The kids were in bed, it was nine o'clock and I thought, I COULD stay up until midnight and work until the very last second, but it probably won't get me much further, and one or two extra marks isn't worth the exhaustion and aggravation. So I hit send, and then sent my instructor an email explaining that I had let myself get behind and I was sorry for the less-than-stellar assignment, and I would work on getting caught up for the next one.

I congratulated myself. I emailed my husband and called Pam and they congratulated me also (I sort of made them, but they seemed fairly sincere). I went to bed and slept like a baby. I was sort of looking forward to getting the assignment back and waving it in people's faces (figuratively, I don't want to break any noses with my laptop) and saying 'look, I TOLD you it was really hard and I might not get a ninety, and THAT'S FINE.'



And then the next day my instructor emailed me and told me to go ahead and take a few extra days if I needed them.

Why, Universe? Why do you mock me like this? Why won't you just let me grow?





17 comments:

krista said...

I think that the universe did let you grow, took you out of your comfort zone and made you change it up. It will carry forward, you just might not see it.

And that is funny, I snorted.

Mary Lynn said...

I laugh. I laugh and laugh because I so totally get this. I remember when I was studying radio broadcasting I was stressing out about some assignment and the instructor told me, "Mary Lynn...you're doing fine. You don't have to get an A on everything. You can let a few things slide." And I was all, "Wah?!? I can't even fathom what you're saying."

Though actually, I think I've now learned. I'm much better now about not stressing this stuff.

Hannah said...

And this is why I am so afraid of going back to school in any capacity, because I am SO TOTALLY EXACTLY LIKE THIS.

And for the record, I am horrible at math. It makes no sense to me, never has, probably never will. The numbers, they baffle me completely. What you're describing sounds like hell.

Nicole said...

Hahah! I'm totally like that too. I MUST GET AN A PLUS OR I WILL DIE. Personal growth!

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Bazinga! says the lady who spent an hour working on a business email today ; )

Maggie said...

Yeah my husband was horrified to discover I was all Hermonione Granger when I went back to grad school after we were married. Nearly constantly proclaiming that I didn't feel good about one test or another only to get in the 90s. After awhile he refused to even listen, I guess that was his personal growth...

collette said...

Wow! I don't care what your teacher says, or that you're now going to work your butt off to get a perfect mark on the assignment. It WAS/IS an incredible amount of growth!

The Host said...

Your instructor is probably just so used to hearing completely horseshit excuses that your matter of fact mea culpa was a relief. See, you're providing them a reward for going into teaching in the first place.

Besides, personal growth is highly overrated. It implies we're not already perfect, and of course we are!

StephLove said...

That so counts as personal growth. Totally counts.

So, do you like memes? I kind of love them and hate them at the same time. Anyway, I tagged you for one. See my blog.

alison said...

You show the universe who's boss and just grow anyway. And I did giggle.

Nan | Wrath Of Mom said...

Do you need a hug? I could give you a hug, if you needed one.

SEE! I'M GROWING ALSO!!!!!!!!!

clara said...

Wow I am totally not like that. Except for the math part. I also am female and suck at math and they have nothing to do with each other but all to do with my math-obsessed father who sucked all the joy out of math for me at an early age.

Math joy killer. That's what they call him.

Anyway! I agree with Krista. The universe knows what it's doing and it MADEJA LOOK! HA HA. No one said the universe wasn't an asshole.

Pam said...

I am laughing so hard my gut hurts. Good thing I put down the wine glass first. Totally agree with The Host - you already are perfect, and whoever challanges that is wrong.

As you know, I am so not a perfectionist and that is one of the many reason's you are awesomer than me... yet I don't care because I am a middle child. However, you do rock, and I absolutely support you in whatever crazy course you choose to do.

Finola said...

Well I laughed a lot at the ending :)

And this post just confirms in my mind that you and I are twins!

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

That's a nice instructor.

I'm a girl and I'm wicked awesome at math. I even considered getting a math degree and then I thought about what I could do with that and I didn't like the options, so I became a surveyor instead which uses physics instead and I hate physics. Should have stuck with math.

Amber said...

Clearly, the universe realized that you HAD grown, and thus rewarded you with extra time. So, yay for you!

And math rocks, yo. But I've learned not to share my internal calculations with large groups of people, because they look at me funny. Apparently, not everyone does long division in their heads for fun. Baffling, but true.

Betsy B. Honest said...

hehe