A different start

Disclaimer: This is basically a Pity-Party-Post. Save yourself from my mere journaling and read some cool stuff on Quora.

Well … I didn’t get a chance to write about Alaska a whole lot. Pity. I really wanted to. Oh well. I’m back up in the UP right now. Just started my third semester here. So far so … good? … I wish I could say that more confidently but I can’t. This semester has had a rather abnormal start from all other semester in my college educational career. Due to the combinations of poor planning skills and a crunched time frame, things were not set up to run as smoothly as they should have. I was unable to set up residency before my arrival and have been relying on my sister’s good graces for shelter. I was also unable to find a decent job this semester and so decided to accept my invitation to my previous sub-par job. Some of my friends are gone. The classes I am taking appear to be of a greater challenge as well. Basically …. I’ve got myself in a mess. A big tricky mess.

Granted, I’m sure out there probably even in this city there are many people who have it worse than I do. I tend to complain more than I believe I have the right to. But still, all I can think about right now is how badly I want out. This sucks. I’m basically homeless, without a stable decent job, and school is kicking my … well … my gluts! It doesn’t help that school was also doing that less than two weeks before now in Calc 2.

I believe I wrote a brief post about that a while back. If I didn’t, I’ll summarize. I chose to take an accelerated Calculus 2 course during the summer which had a class every day of the week for two and a half hours for five weeks straight. Yes, it sucked. It really really sucked. Long story short, this class took away most of my summer while upsetting the majority of my family which led to someone being kicked out which festered some resentment towards my education. In the past, I have never been deeply motivated by school. Good grades are great, but I have never valued them beyond the avoidance of the embarrassing experience of bad grades. A pat on the back doesn’t feel that different to most of the 4.0’s I have received. (I’ve probably written about that in the past as well) My point is …. well … that class really burned me out.

Although I did indeed pass the class, I didn’t do it with flying colors. I consider what I received as a bad grade. (Some say passing is good, but I set my standards high so I don’t completely succumb to my lack of 4.0 motivation) Because I gave so much and came out feeling poorly, that class left a few wounds that are still a bit tender to touch. It’s one thing to spend a school years away and get to see your parents periodically on breaks and the start of the summer. However, seeing them grow distant from you because of a class you chose to take, that’s a pretty painful thing to swallow. I had to go up north feeling that these wounds I feel are still mutual between those closest to me. My mother and father expressed how much they missed me. Saying goodbye was not easy when I came up north. My eldest brother who has always been the understanding and encouraging one in my life twice spoke the sly remarks of a forgotten brother who wanted to see that he still mattered.

So in a nutshell, that class has left me pretty resentful towards school in general. I usually never struggled to get excited to learn new things and meet new instructors. This semester, however, has come with it’s share of heavy baggage. I truly miss my family. I regret having treated them like shit. They mean more to me than this stupid place. I will probably go to my grave saying that I do not belong in school. I am a laborer. My heart lies with the tasks and duties of a smaller group. I wonder how often a doctor smiles in comparison to a garbage man.  The world is what you make of it, not what it makes of you. …. That’s enough. I’ll dream more about simpler careers in the morning. For now, I better get to sleep, I have to be up and ready for class in five hours. ……

Poor grades

So it turns out I’m not that good at math. Maybe it’s because as a homeschooler, I spent much of my childhood avoiding schoolwork rather than practicing. Or maybe it’s because I have not been applying myself fully to my studies. Regardless, I am seeing myself do worse as I climb the mathematical latter. I have never gotten a 4.0 in a math class. Most have floated around a 3.0 or a 3.5. I would say that the reason I do poorly is more likely my lack of diligence and desire to apply myself. Admittedly, I have done very little homework throughout my academic career. As an auditory learner, I would say most of what I learn in school is what is said in a lecture. I will recall more from what my instructors will say than from any other method. Especially if there are anecdotal stories or real world applications included in the lecture. Granted, reading, practicing and all other forms of learning do benefit me. I just simply learn and retain more through listening.

In my calc class I was struck rather hard when while taking a quiz, I could not recall any of the proper concepts for the problems. I was completely lost and resorted to writing down as much chicken scratch as I could while hoping it looked somewhat legible and relatable. I was pretty upset. I expected a 0 and would not have had any hard feelings towards my instructor if he had given that. I know I don’t apply myself fully. This is my problem and no one else’s. If I could become the true master of my motivation and be able to involve myself passionately, I have no doubt that I would be the student raising my hand to present and explain to the class a complicated problem.

One of the things that bothers me most is what I do to my instructors. Granted, not all the instructors out there are effected by a low scoring student, however, most of my math instructors have been extremely kind and empathetic. The ones I have had the pleasure of working with each seemed to have the ability to find the smart but lacking students. I do not wish to go so far as to label myself smart, but I do not believe I am one of those students who doesn’t care about school at all. I would say with a fare amount of confidence that all my math instructors have been, and are, truly wonderful people. It is because of them I have been able to climb a ladder I was never seemingly meant for. It breaks my heart more to see a disheartened instructor look at me before a test with a look of inevitable disappointment.

My girlfriend’s father is an English teacher who I have the honor of knowing. Recently I saw a post about how poorly scoring students effect him. He spoke about the disappointment and feelings of failure towards doing his job. I would just like to say to him:
Mr. _____, you are doing your job. There are just some students who struggle with learning. There is nothing you can do except be there for them. If you base your skill on the pupils who fail you, you will always have disappointments. The mark of a truly great teacher not just one who can connect and recognize students who do well, but also the students who want to do well but don’t try hard enough. So be comforted, for I feel this is where you stand. However, do not withhold too much disappointment. It is in this disappointment you and all other teachers reveal, that pushes myself and people like me, to try harder.