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Friday, March 30, 2012

Rest Easy. All is Well. Even the Tests.

Be at ease. The Mumbler met me before class with a reassuring hug and told me he wouldn't tell anyone about the blog, even though he thought most of them would get a kick out of it. He thought it was quite funny, which is cool.


Yesterday's class was reassuring in more ways than one. I went into this endeavor hoping to get an education out of it which, historically for me, is closely tied to the final grade. It is very hard for me to differentiate between the "must get an A" mentality and the "must get an education" mentality. Back in college, after a miserable start in Microbiology and meeting ThatGuy in Chemistry (Ah, young love. I don't think either one of us passed that class), I figured that area of study was probably not my forte and switched to the ambiguous English degree (15 years later, I can't quite recall my specific area of concentration of English literature). Even with that rough start and having to struggle through three French classes (such a beautiful, lilting language--too bad I retained absolutely none of it), I still graduated with a 3.87, of which I am proud.

For me, success comes in pessimistic degrees. You only succeed if you get an A. A B is simply acceptable and only considered a full success if it's French class. If you get a C, you may have passed the class, but you're only halfway successful. A D is a completely fail and will haunt you for the rest of your life. I still remember that horrible Organic Chemistry debacle.

ThatGuy has told me that the purpose of this whole exercise is to learn something--not to get an A to keep my GPA up. So my new mantras have become: "My final grade may or may not reflect my end knowledge" and "I do not need to be proficient in every aspect of class in order to succeed." It helps me keep priorities in perspective. Should I study all day or spend some time with Rain and study the rest of the time? Do I have time to goof off with Nanook and ThatGuy, or do I need to sequester myself with my 82-lb textbook for hours on end?

So, back to why yesterday's class was reassuring. On Tuesday night, Mr. Shado told us that we were going to have a quiz on the two chapters on alternators the next night. I did not immediately freak out and start typing up notes from the textbook. I did not even take my text book out of my car that night, nor did I take it into work the next day.

I did not want to study for the quiz so I did not study.

You have no idea how hard that sentence was to write. I resisted the urge to study anyway and trusted in the knowledge that I learned in class to make a good (enough) grade on the exam. And it was. In fact, I got 20 out of 25 correct (which, oddly enough, computed to a total grade of 100%), which pleased me greatly. Those 5 incorrect answers did not disturb me nearly as much as I thought they would.

Plus, I know how an alternator works. And I call that a complete success.

In closing, here's a t-shirt that All-American wore the other night and I found myself relating to it. Aren't we always on a search for ourselves? If you think you've found me, please let me know. You might be right.

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