Sigh of Relief

Note: This post has been edited.  I shouldn’t be allowed to both blog and watch The Rachel Zoe Project.

I survived the end of the second half of the summer semester (even though I was sure that I wouldn’t), and so I will tell the abridged story of the disaster that was.

I had very high hopes for said semester: I was going to knock out another class, I was going to maintain a great GP; everything was going to be gravy.  Problem was, the class was crammed chock-full and the professor was not exactly what the doctor ordered.

This class would have been fine as a 12-week course, or as an online course.  But it was a 6-week course and the professor would not vary from the PowerPoint slides that the publishers of the text book had issued.  I tried to be a good sport about it – I really did – but six hours a week for six weeks and I was dying.  TFLN and I became very good friends.

The worst part came at the mid-term after spending 8 hours working on the take-home exam to come back with less than 50%.  I had never done that poorly on an exam in the history of my educational career.  And to make it worse, when we asked collectively to go over the exam, we were met with, “I made them ambiguous on purpose.” or “It’s obvious that the answer is ‘A’.”  Well, if it had been obvious, I would have answered that way.  So yeah, thanks for that.

I get it that a take-home exam has to be a little more difficult than a typical sit-in exam, but seriously?  Making a test so hard that half of your class fails is simply absurd.  It does not prove that we didn’t learn the material, it proves that we weren’t paranoid enough about answering your ambiguous material.

Normally, I wouldn’t have tried to kill myself over this, but educational reimbursement from my employer makes it mandatory to get a passing (C) grade in a course.  I did not think I was going to make it, seriously. I was losing my damn mind – oh, there was going to be a letter campaign, and meetings with department heads, and my personal mission was to get this adjunct booted.

My letter-writing campaign didn’t get off the ground: there isn’t a whole lot of grassroots activism that can be fit into three weeks.  Instead, I focused my frenetic energy into busting my ass and spending four days (including one personal day taken off of work) working on the final take-home exam.

In the end, my exam consisted of the finished (polished) copy of the exam, the scratch sheets, the makeup question from the mid-term and homework.  My stack required a binder clip, and I almost couldn’t slide it under the adjunct’s office door.

I went from less than 50% at the semester half to an 85% and a B.  I made it.

By the skin of my teeth; but I made it.

August 17, 2009

Tomorrow, my brother will be home from a year-long trip in Japan.  He spent his time there studying (hopefully), getting absorbed in the culture, and having the experience of a lifetime.

He will be home for about four days before he has to go back to school for the fall semester.  He and I have never been super close, but he is my baby brother, and I am sad that I won’t see him for very long before he’s gone again for school across the state.  I have this hinky feeling that I’m not going to see him very much anymore, period.  I don’t think he’ll be in the States very long after he graduates, and I don’t know that I will get the opportunity to visit him as much as I would like in Japan.  I’m just going to have to make a point of visiting him more often this year in BG.

I can’t imagine that the adjustment to life back in the States is going to be very easy for him.  He’s coming home from his favorite place on earth back to an obligation he doesn’t want to fill.  I can’t say as I envy his predicament too much.


Workin’ Hard, or Hardly Workin’?

I had something pretty rotten happen to me this semester at CSU, and I don’t really want to talk about in detail here, because there will be a letter written to the head of the department about it, so I don’t want to get academically-dooced or anything.  But, when this semester is over, I’ll reveal a little bit more about it.

Part of the aftermath of this academic nuclear winter is that I’m taking a nice long metaphoric look in the mirror and trying to evaluate myself as not just a student, but as a productive member of society.  In many of the endeavors that I’ve had to tackle, I’ve usually half-assed it and come out above average and been okay with that, satisfied in the knowledge that if I really wanted to, I could be awesome.  Lately, I’m noticing that I have to work very hard in these business classes to keep up to speed.  I’m wondering if part of this is just because the material is so advanced, or because I’m cashing in some negative karma-points for my hubris about my intelligence level.  Coupling this with some of my self-doubting in my professional life, I feel borderline deficient.

I’m just feeling a little burned out and panicky right now, and starting to compare myself to everyone else, asking myself why I’m not succeeding the way I wanted to.  Of course, the super-ego says, “don’t be silly – perfection takes practice” but my id is throwing an epic meltdown that would make a two-year-old proud.

I’m just pissed because I’m not perfect.