Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Reality Sets In

Painting entitled "Screaming" by Louisa Giffard

It always does... Reality manages to creep itself back into everything I ever attempt to do. There's no way around it. Life just simply NEVER goes according to plan. It's such a pain in the ass!

My Financial Experiment tanked. A couple weeks ago I was all set to double my initial investment, and then some. If things had gone according to plan, I would already have over $3000, possibly closing in on $4000. Well, as I already said, nothing ever goes according to the plan. Instead, my investment dropped back down to $1000. That's not a big deal, you say. At least you didn't lose your initial investment. True, except I was counting on having at least $3000 by now so that I could take out my initial $1000 and have some money to live on (and still leave money in my experiment to grow and take out as needed) while I wait for my next batch of financial aid money to roll in sometime in February. Now, I'm forced to take out the whole $1000 so that I have money to live on, which will not, by itself, stretch until February.

That's not the only bad news. I am not going to pass College Algebra. It isn't possible. Perhaps if I had bothered to really do the homework diligently, and ask for assistance from my friends in class, I could have done it. But, that ship has passed. And an F on a transcript really fucks up your GPA. Little known fact: Do you know that's why they call it an F? It helps to reinforce the idea of just how truly FUCKED you are! Now, my recourse is to either take the class over again (in which case I would need an A in order to balance out the F so I could get a C) or take another math course (possibly Statistics) in which I would still need to make an A. Also, I have a few Ds on my transcript which will not transfer over to State (you need to have a C or better in a class for it to transfer), so you might already see where this is going.

Yep... It looks like I'm going to have to spend an extra semester at community college before I can apply and get accepted to NC State. Granted, it isn't the end of the world, by any means. After all, I waited 13 years to get my ass back to school. What's an extra semester in the scheme of things? Still, it does annoy me a bit. I'd like for things to stick to the plan once in awhile. It would make life so much easier.

At least with regard to the grades, I can't blame anyone but myself. I knew going into the class that math isn't an easy subject for me. It isn't like English or Psychology which I have a natural talent for; I have to actually do some work to get by in a math class. I chose not to do it. Sure, my old Nemesis, the calculator, didn't make things easier, but if I had done the homework everyday I would have eventually gotten the hang of it. It just isn't going to work to try and pawn this failure off on someone or something else.

You know, in the past, it's always been so much easier for me to blame my problems on things other than my own choices. I would say and think things like "it's because I was abused", or "nobody ever helps me", or "people just don't understand". Even if I did accept blame, it was a value judgement on me, like "I failed because I'm a bad person", or "I'm just no good at this". None of these ideas ever really helped me identify the real problem and come up with a solution. These rationales just made me feel worse about myself. Either I was a bad person, a born failure, or I was helpless and hopeless.

I'm not sure what's changed, but I don't see myself or my problems like that anymore. Maybe I don't want to see them that way anymore. Now, I can see that failing at something doesn't have to be about me as a person. Instead, falling short of expectations can be the result of poor choices. I can learn to make better choices. I can clearly identify what events led me to this point and I can say "this worked" or "this didn't work" and I can adjust my behavior to compensate.

I think I understand now why I haven't been feeling bad about this realization, and why I haven't been beating myself up over the bad grade. It feels empowering to look at the world in an objective way and, rather than personalizing the mistakes, being able to see a better course of action in front of me. I guess this is the way that people with a healthy level of self-esteem must react to setbacks.

Have fun, and keep living life... Or some approximation thereof!


IM Able said...

Don't worry too much about the grade. Focus your energies on doing well in what material you need to know to pursue the career you want. If it makes you feel any better, I got an F in French (ah, alliteration) and still made it into (and out of) law school.

Those who can honestly see their role in setbacks, assess and move forward, are those who find success in life. Rumination only fills time for those who have nothing better to do. Figure out what led to the grade, figure out how to change the behavior, make your peace with yourself, and move on. It's a skill that pays dividends in life.

Ashe said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm surprised you got an F in French. I enjoyed French when I took it back in high school, though I never got good enough to be conversational. I did, however, become fluent enough that I was able to read Albert Camus' The Stranger (Le Stranger) in the original French. I was rather proud of that accomplishment. It's much easier to read a foreign language, for me, than to speak it. Southern accents like mine tend to really do a number on French pronunciation!

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