Nobody’s fault but mine

You can add a new term to the definition of hubris: Laura Cartwright Hardy.

This week has been an eye-opener as far as grad school goes. Monday brought a 10-point (announced) multiple-choice pop quiz, for which I’d done every reading and reviewed everything I’d highlighted. I know of five I got right, two I got wrong and the other three I can’t even remember in the aftershock of how blank I went.

Yesterday I took an open-book, open-notes online test in Blackboard. Some of the answers I knew instantly, others I looked up to make sure, some I couldn’t find anywhere in my study questions or the book – and some I just couldn’t figure out what was being asked. The 55-question T/F and multiple choice test took me just over two hours.

I checked after last night’s class, and I made a freakin’ 90.25 percent. That’s a B. Damn.

It’s nobody’s fault but mine, though. It’s not that I thought 12 hours of grad school would be easy, I just expected perfection on my part. Which is silly, really, if you consider my history in school.

Elementary school was easy and I liked it, but mainly because it was fun. I made good grades, but not perfect grades. (I had trouble with conduct, for example, making my share of Cs for talking too much – imagine that – and with handwriting, which would surprise none of my former students, who did plenty of complaining if I wrote on the board. I used to threaten them with getting a custom font in my handwriting and doing all the handouts in it.)

I did decide to make straight As once – in the fourth or fifth grade (I’m thinking fourth) – studied hard and did. “So, OK, did that” was my attitude. Then it was right back to low-stress, good-enough grades. Mother says she was called in at least once and told I was a classic under-achiever. Whatever. School was fun.

Those habits persisted through junior high, high school (and the first attempt at college, where I majored in boyfriend and fun). I developed a super-strength math phobia in seventh grade (another story for another day), and if it wasn’t English, which I adored; yearbook staff, which I adored; Spanish, or anything art-related, I just did enough to get by.

Still managed to be an honor graduate, thanks to 5-point As in honors English. But I almost didn’t get to graduate – I’d slipped through the cracks without taking geometry. My counselor caught it my senior year and slipped me into a class with mostly sophomores.

I really tried in that class (for me, anyway) but couldn’t wrap my head around angles. My last grading period, I actually made an F, but my teacher gave me a D so as not to hurt my honor-grad standing. It was a parting gift, she said, and I’m sure she was glad to be shed of me.

But when I went back to college as a young mom of two and paying for it myself, things shifted. I made all As for 2 ½ years. Of course with an English major and psychology minor, it was mostly essay tests and paper-writing. I do way better with shades of gray than black-and-white thinking.

A few years ago, I’m pretty sure I set the curve on most things in my 12-hour CyberTeacher intensive summer school class to get my teaching certification back, but it was hands-on, project-driven and fun – except for the math-like Excel, which made me cuss and cry and  call my former-student/extra-daughter Camille to come tutor me.

After that, at least while I was actively using Excel, I was fine. Access too. Scary programs, though. (And don’t ask me to use them today – out of use, out of mind.)

John is alternating between laughing at me and being annoyed with me for getting so  worked up about my less-than-stellar performance. And actually, by about now, I’m kind of laughing at myself (writing is therapy for me).

Tuesday I watched my 5-year-old grandson’s first soccer game.

Wednesday I had a great birthday. Got nice presents and a groovy new dress.

Today my grandbabies are coming over for a visit. They light up my life.

And today is another day. So is tomorrow (Scarlett was right). So I’ll study harder. Or something. Or maybe Bs in grad school are OK, as my D&O professor told us the first day of class.

But my daughter just told me I’m going to have to knuckle down or it’s not worth going. Sigh. The daughter is the mother to the mom.

She’s right. I’ve got to get into the zone. Hope I still can. Because deep down, still, all I want to do is dance.

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