Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Midterm, quitting and a bit of philosphizing February 11, 2009

I got the only A+ in my class. I am really excited about that. I got a 100% but to be fair, the test was WAAAAAY easy like Herr Trost said.

We are working on more grammar stuff and it is really throwing my classmates for a loop. I wonder what they expected when they signed up for this class. One of the guys today got really angry at Herr Trost and was muttering about how this was a “fucking stupid class.” Another guy asked the same question he asked a week ago and, again, Herr Trost had to spend five minutes explaining it. I heard one of the guys mention he had to get a C in this class or else Tuition Assistance (the Air Force program to pay for college courses you take while enlisted) wouldn’t pay for it and he’d have to pay for it out of pocket. Language courses are hard. Very hard. Especially if you don’t know the grammar of your native tongue. I’m guessing there are probably four or five people who are going to fail this course, or at least get lower than a C. And I wonder what they will blame it on. Will they blame it on Herr Trost? The Air Force? The book? Themselves? Will they think they should have studied more? Will this be an enlightening experience for them in which they realize foreign language is not for them? Or will they simply decide that higher education is not for them?

I don’t know. I just wonder. I do not deal well with failure. I don’t know if I would continue to take this class if I were really struggling. One of the things I am really looking forward to about pursuing my degree is challenging myself. I am looking forward to the class that pushes me to my limit. When I left home and moved to Cedar Rapids, I took some classes at Kirkwood. I took some horse training classes and a photography class. I also took a writing class.

One of our first papers was supposed to be about an important event in our lives. I shared my testimony, or at least one significant part (though I can’t remember what it was). I got a C. I didn’t think I deserved a C. Grammatically the paper was perfect but the professor said I didn’t know my audience. I didn’t write to the audience; I assumed they would know what I was talking about. I didn’t explain who God was or what sin was; I assumed the people reading my paper had grown up in Western Christianity and spoke fluent Christianese.

At the time, I couldn’t see any of this and I thought he just didn’t like me because I was a Christian. Now, as someone who no longer calls herself a Christian and as someone who has learned to see things from others points of view, I can see that he was right. But at the time, I simply saw that I was “failing,” or simply not exceeding which to me felt like failure. I didn’t get an A. I didn’t even get a B. I got a C and I didn’t know how to fix it. So instead of going to my teacher and talking with him about it and finding out what I needed to do to improve, I dropped the class.

I quit.

And I didn’t take another college class until this German class. Why? Why was I so afraid of failure that I couldn’t handle a “C” paper, which in all honesty, was probably a “C” paper. I couldn’t handle it. I was distraught and broken.

What will I do when it happens again, as I am sure it will? Will I be able to work through it? Will I be able to humble myself and ask for help? Will I be able to take the constructive criticism and make it work for me or will I give up and cry? Will I be strong or will I be weak?

I just don’t know but I want to find out. I want to find out what my limit is. What if there is a brilliant geologist hiding in my brain? What if there’s a biochemist trapped in there? What if an archeologist or a war reporter or a talented artist is beneath the layers of complacency and safety I’ve wrapped around myself? What if I peel back the layers and it’s just me, with no layers? Will I be okay with that, too?

I don’t know.

But I aim to find out. Yay for me and my amazing brain!

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2 Responses to “Midterm, quitting and a bit of philosphizing”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Your post reminds me of something I read. “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.”

  2. ladyrebecca Says:

    Absolutely. There’s a movie called “Strictly Ballroom” and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a romance…of sorts…and Israel, the original hater of Hollywood’s idea of romance, loves it as well. In it the protagonist wants to go his own way and do his own thing. He wants to dance new moves and new steps that he’s invented but no one supports him. Everyone tells him that he is throwing his career away and he’ll never amount to anything if he doesn’t buckle down and follow the rules and dance like everyone else. His father, who also wanted to dance his own steps but, along with his wife, was too afraid, shouts to him across an empty ballroom floor, “We lived our lives in fear!” and it echoes back and forth across the room. And the young man realizes that a life lived in fear is a life half lived.

    And that’s what I do NOT want to happen. I do not want to be fifty years old and look back and realize I lived my life in fear. What a horrible thing to realize when you are fifty but what a wonderful thing to realize and change when you are still a young person. Which I consider myself, despite my progression towards 30!


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