They say the second quarter is easier than the first when you go back to school. And, in some ways, I think they’re right. My first quarter I took classes that were apropos of nothing. My transfer credits weren’t processed by the college yet. English 101 was a requirement I’d already taken, but until the credits were processed I was blocked from taking the classes I wanted. I felt out of place and out of my depth. The first quarter felt like a lot of catch-up in one sitting.
Despite this quarter’s assignments of a research paper, learning how to read and critique a genre I felt out of touch with, and Algebra 99, this quarter still seemed easier. However, don’t let this fool you about the amount of work I put in to get the grades I earned.
To put it in perspective, I think I spent 4 or 5 eight hour days working on Algebra 99 to make sure I had all of the concepts down. Days where I literally did nothing else but math. Sure, you’re supposed to spend time outside of class, an estimated 2 hours per class hour. This would put me at 10 hours of math homework per week. In honesty, I estimate closer to 15 or 20. It’s a good thing my other classes were more tailored to my skills, or I’m not sure how I could have balanced all three of them.
I am at this point holding an A- in Algebra. Of course, it’s tempting to not work that hard. It’s tempting to slack off, take a C, manage through class. In this class, however, at times I was at a C average, because I did poorly on a quiz. Each time I got a quiz back with a failing grade I could feel cold sweat trickle down my back. The only thing worse than taking a class you hate once is having to take it twice.
My son tried to talk me into not going to school today. He was cuddly and cute and persuasive. It’s hard to say no to a sweet face begging you to stay in a warm bed and cuddle all day. Eventually I had to tell him that Mom’s goals required her to go to school, and they were goals he wanted me to achieve. He understood that, which makes me realize that humans aren’t all that different from childhood to adulthood. We need motivation in order to do a thing. If there’s no motivation, there’s no action.
It’s frustrating that currently my life is revolving around school. I realize now that I could have just started writing. The trouble was, my writing wouldn’t have improved the exponential amount it has since I’ve been going to school. The fact that my schooling slowed my writing career is mitigated by the fact that my writing career will be improved by my schooling in the long run.
So, while I may rail against the situation I find myself in and how counter-productive it seems to be to what I actually want to be doing, I still find myself sitting down at my laptop, glazed from homework and not enough sleep, and sketching out a short story for fun and profit. I have a reason for doing what I’m doing, despite the fact that from the outside it looks like madness.