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. ……
So the semester has come to an end and I have nothing more I can do towards my classes. This is a pity because I had a few assignments I could have worked on more. I don’t expect to get any murderous grades in any of my classes. In fact I’m fairly certain I passed them all. ……. Well that’s a depressing statement.
I have never been one to put a lot of work into my education. When it comes to all the things I’ve learned, it’s mostly through listening. I just don’t pick up much from reading. In fact, I would rank myself pretty poorly in my reading comprehension and retention rate. This, I venture to say, is why I do not excel in college or many other learning environments. Regardless, I try and do what I can with the mental capabilities I posses. It’s just so disappointing when I can’t achieve the A’s on my grades that I want so badly.
If I may continue rambling, you know what’s most heartwrenching when it comes to my sub-par grades? When the people you love do so much better. My dear girlfriend, who I would lay down my life for, is doing better than ever in school. She’s constantly talking about her goals to beat the leading student in her Calc course. As far as I know, she expects nothing less than A’s in all her classes. …. I want nothing more than to keep pushing her with all the encouragement, love and motivation I can give her, but I don’t think everyone knows how hard it is to encourage an Olympian swimmer when you’re just trying to stay afloat. I want to do well and I want to be there for her but I feel my encouragement is near useless when I’m not above or at least at her level. I don’t think I actually encourage her enough. To be perfectly honest, I think I get jealous sometimes. This makes me feel so bad that I can’t talk about it. In fact I can’t actually talk about this because it’s her finals week and I’m not about to screw up her grades while she fusses over little ole me. As I mentioned earlier, I am done, so I have nothing left to really even constructively worry about. I mean, my fate is sealed at this point.
Basically all this rambling is about me having a problem. That problem is I don’t believe I am doing well in school. I don’t necessarily believe I can’t do well. I just believe I’m not at this time. How I fix this will be the project of my entire summer. I do have few theories as to why this problem seems to exist but only one really strikes me as the leading cause.
I don’t have a goal:
This is my biggest problem and the most difficult to resolve. I have things I would like my future to hold but most of those things are things I need to fund (like a family) and not a career. I really really need a career goal. Yes I’m pursuing a degree in computer science but without knowing what I’m going to do with that and looking forward to it, I lack a goal. Therefore, I do poorly in school. So it’s kind of a paradox till I learn more about the field. Funny thing is, my current vision of the field has not yet striked me as … shall we say … appealing to the point of passion. Yes there’s a guaranteed wealth for those who go into the field with knowledge and eagerness to work hard but I, oddly enough, am not motivated by money. If it weren’t for bills, payments and the general cost of a decent living, I literally could not care less about a large number on my bank statement. Money is a key for living. Put simply, I want that key, but I don’t care about unlocking a life of luxury. I want a meaningful life, not a status. I want to leave my mark on this world but I couldn’t care less if my works remained anonymous. There are so many people in this world who have made some amazing discoveries and few of them have the fame of Einstein or Galileo. Honestly, I don’t even care if I’m the one who really makes the mark. I’d be happy if my children or their children did something great. I just want play my part and do it well. I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing right now.
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.
Well this is shameful of me. I had said I would write more the next evening and here I am writing four days later. I’ll have to work on getting to bed at a more reasonable hour.
I had said I would write about the organization fair that was held on Tuesday evening at NMU, so I will start my post with that.
Northern Michigan University is fairly well known for their student involvement. NMU currently holds over 335 organization / groups where students take take part in anything from vollentieer services on campus or within the city of Marquette, academic achievement groups or business groups to other interests like sports groups, a news TV station group and even a group for tree climbers. At an org fair, organization / group leaders sit at a table trying to get more people to join their group. Basically, once you finish hearing about them and their group you decide whether or not you would be interested in taking part. If the answer is yes you basically just give your email and they will contact you with more info. At this particular org fair there was only a portion of the groups at NMU. There is a bigger one with nearly all of them sometime in the fall. Regardless, I met a ton of cool people. One of which was from my own town. Now I didn’t count the amount of org leaders there were there but I would guess if is somewhere between 30 and 50.
I really look forward to going up north. It’s going to be awesome.