Call Me Britney Because Oops I Did It Again
Many of you have been asking about how my semester away from the blog went, and today I’m here to finally quell the curiosity!
Right up front I’m just gonna say: I blew it again. Old habits die hard, I guess.
I had signed up for four classes: Intro to Humanities, Intro to Communications, Race and Diversity, and Cell Biology. All were required, and all were 3 credit hours each (except biology which was 4). Cell Biology was on Monday from 9am to 11:15am, and the rest were back to back on Tuesday, starting at 10am and ending at 3pm. So, four classes, two days in person a week, it didn’t sound so hard. Or at least, it didn’t sound completely impossible.
I remember the night before I went to my first day of biology, I was in tears because until then I hadn’t thought to check the syllabus that was posted online, which said I needed to have read all of chapter one before the first day. It turned out I had purchased the wrong access code from the campus bookstore, so I couldn’t access the textbook to read the thirty pages, and it was already eleven at night. So I freaked out.
I didn’t want to go to class unprepared. Thinking of showing up without having read the first chapter gave me anxiety so badly I almost couldn’t bring myself to go to class, because the thought of the facing the professor killed me inside. What if she asked me something about the first chapter?! What if there was a pop quiz?! As most anxiety-inducing things go, it ended up not being even remotely a big deal, because no one had read the chapter and she didn’t really mind, she just said make sure you read it at some point this week.
For the first week, it was easy. Everyone loves syllabus week. That week of introductions and that feeling of getting back into things, color coordinating your folders to your classes (green for science, purple for humanities, obviously). And for a second you feel like you really can do this, and that things will be okay this time.
But then the assignments come. And the second you’re done with one, there’s another. Another paper to write, another virtual lab to do, another quiz to take. Then, when/if you finally get through all of that, there’s studying to be done for weekly tests, midterms, finals, you know how it goes. It’s just nonstop devoting all your time and energy to stuff that you don’t want to be devoting any time and energy to! But, them’s the breaks, right?
Every time I logged onto my laptop to do an assignment, I would pretty much freak out merely reading the instructions for the assignment. I have to read forty pages of a textbook, do 845 fill-in-the-blank vocab words, write a five-page paper on Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, cite all my sources in MLA format (8th edition), and take a chapter test? For just one class?! I think I’d rather lie down in front of a train. A moving one.
It all felt like too much, way too much, right from the start. I got the urge to drop something. I needed to do something that would take some of the weight off. So in the second week, I dropped communications. I picked this one because my professor was a fucking racist, sexist, homophobic piece of shite.
Anyways, now I only had three classes to focus on, which again sounded completely manageable. Three is easier than four. I could do this.
And yet somehow I couldn’t! I would spend hours with my laptop open, staring at an assignment, and not doing any of it. Just agonizing over the fact that I had to do it, lamenting that I could be spending this time doing something else, guilting myself for not just shutting the fuck up and doing it.
I’d crack open my textbook and spend what felt like forever reading the same page over and over again because none of it was processing. Something something hydrophilic covalent bond blah blah signal receptors yada yada polarized valence electrons. What the fuck was I reading? The words meant nothing, they were just letters strung together to form something that looked like a sentence, but I’m not convinced they really were.
I kept getting so mad at the fact I didn’t understand the content, and was so convinced I could never possibly understand it, that I would just completely wing the multiple choice assignments. What should’ve taken me three hours took me fifteen minutes because I would just choose one and figure I had a 1/4 chance to get it right. So I kept getting forties and fifties on the assignments, and tests certainly weren’t any better. And so I started failing biology.
And soon enough I started failing the other two. But I have much less of an excuse for those two. It’s not like I didn’t understand it, as opposed to biology, which I genuinely can’t fucking comprehend. The other two were filled with content I cared about. I love sociology! I love art! How could I not do well in something I care so much about?
Truthfully, I don’t know. I can go to class, and I can talk about paintings and flying buttresses, and I loved discussing deindustrialization and the prison industrial complex. I like learning. I just couldn’t do the work.
Homework is truly the bane of my existence. Even when I was a kid in elementary, I had the hardest time doing homework, though I exceled in the classroom setting and was top of the game in standardized testing. Homework has always been my downfall, and college is a million times worse than junior high or high school ever was.
I feel like I’m buried under a crushing pile of assignments. I drown in it. I can’t breathe. It kills me. Slowly. Surely.
And the guilt is the nail in my coffin, built out of paper. Made with the pages of textbooks, the pages of my five-subject notebooks, the pages of the final papers I never wrote.
Every day that I went to class, I would cry the whole drive home. Every time I would try to do an assignment, I would cry. Cry at my inability to do simple things, cry at my hatred for being forced to do something that means nothing to me and brings me no joy, cry at the fact that if I had just gotten this right the first time at Miami I wouldn’t have to be doing it now.
Cry at what a complete failure I am.
Then came the time to tell my parents again that I was failing again. A painful repeat, but I’m nothing if not used to it by now. After all, it is the fifth semester I’ve failed.
The next day, November 1st, was the last day to drop a class, so I walked in and dropped all three. So instead of a bunch of F’s, I just have a bunch of W’s. But we all know what those W’s represent.
Anyways, time to get back in the saddle. I go back to school in two weeks. I signed up for two classes this semester, Intro to Geology and Intro to Anthropology. Both are required, one is 3 credit hours and one is 4 credit hours. Anthropology is all online, and geology is Tuesday and Thursday from noon to two.
Sounds doable, doesn’t it?
I guess we’ll see.