Wednesday, October 24, 2012

[1514] i can feel the pressure

I hate not measuring up. Not putting my best foot forward. Being less than what I know I can be. I'm figuring out that sometimes it's unavoidable.

It's been that kind of week. It started with the GRE on Saturday. I tried and I tried to learn the math that thwarted me when I was fourteen. I had the books. I had a friend tutor me. I took the online tests. I even psyched myself up. Positive mental attitude, y'know? Then I sat down in front of the computer in Lake Forest, surrounded by other grad school hopefuls, and I tanked. Everything on screen looked like some strange and exotic foreign script. Hieroglyphics. I realized without a textbook or unlimited time, I could not solve these problems. I hadn't been able to solve them when I was getting a C- in remedial math in college, and I sure as heck couldn't solve them eight years later without the benefit of a teacher attempting to drill it into my head three times a week.

In the case of the quant section of the GRE, I had to accept that I just couldn't do any better. And that's frustrating, but it's even worse when you COULD do better and don't.

Like today. Or, well, the past two weeks, really. I'm studying for my MA exams, which means lots of reading. Something like 1500 pages for this little chunk. I'm reading 3-4 books every two weeks. It's a lot to take in all at once, and I'm not the most detail-oriented reader. I tend to be a big picture person. Not to mention the fact that my memory isn't exactly top-notch. When I watch TV, I can usually tell you whether I liked an episode of something or not, but don't ask me what the episode was actually about. Even a few minutes later, I've forgotten most of the plot. I think I've mentioned before that this drives my friend Bri crazy.

So I read. And the first book I read, I just didn't like. Maybe I was simply in the wrong frame of mind (because apparently everyone else gets super into this book), but I was bored. I kept reading pages and realizing I hadn't actually taken in anything I'd read. Writing about it afterwards, I was vague. I knew I was vague. I wanted to do better, but I couldn't bring myself to care enough to force it. And then when it came time to defend what I'd written about it, two weeks later and with scant notes, I fell flat on my face. It was all my fault. If I didn't like it and didn't get it, I should have read some reviews. I should have asked somebody to talk about it. I'm sure I know other people who have read it. I was so embarrassed by my lack of knowledge, I just said I'd skimmed it. Better to be thought lazy than utterly incompetent. Is that weird?

That's the kind of thing that eats me up. I know I can do better. Everyone else knows I can do better. And there's no excuse for missing the mark. Maybe I beat myself up too much. Maybe this is my mind and my body's way of telling me I need to settle down. I need to sleep. I need to get some Zyrtec for all the anxiety-induced hives I'm breaking out in. It could just be senioritis. So close to the goal and ready to move onto other things, it's hard to focus. I'm the introspective type. I want to know why I get this way.

Anyway, I just needed to get this off my chest. No clever memes to add. Just a candid look into the way my mind works. I'm a happy gal. A blessed gal. But I'm often exhausted and I'm quick to tear myself apart. It's a bad habit. I'm working on it.