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.


Willi Ryan said...

Ms. Corrigan, Since I have known you since you were born (I was there) I think that I am qualified to tell you that math is not the measure that you should be looking at when you are trying to find yourself in this world. Measuring up comes in many different forms and although I have not seen you in years I am quite sure that you certainly out-do most humans in many, many ways that count much more significantly than mathematics. So, try as you might, math eludes you. You are blessed anyway. I am glad that you can see that because you are blessed in many ways from what I know and see. Smile girl, it is only numbers!

Gary Arnold said...

*hug* Hang in there, Corcor

Heidi Noelle said...

If there is anything I remind myself in these moments, is that we are all a work in progress. Being that "work in progress" I need to take a step back from my myself, take a deep breath, have a moment, and make those steps forward becoming that person I want to be. You've got this and you measure up in more ways than you think! : )