Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Rough Afternoon

I really dislike those days when discouragement, self-doubt and hopelessness hit you like a train wreck.

After my freshman year of college, I decided I wasn't going to take another foreign language class until I got better study skills, because my GPA couldn't take any more C's or C-'s in 4-credit classes (I took German 101 and Spanish 206). That's had to change, however, as I'm investigating the Communication Disorders major; I'm taking two of the beginning classes - ASL 101 and an introductory class to the major - to check it out and see if it's something I want to do. The intro class is going pretty good: no homework that I know of, one of my roommates is also in the class, and the material seems really intriguing. ASL though... that's a different story. The first couple weeks went by well, and I was feeling confident that I could learn the language. Over the past week though, I've been becoming more and more discouraged. I recognize fewer of my teacher's signs (talk about a learning curve, compared to just a week or so before) and it feels like the rest of the class is keeping up just fine. In class today I just gave up trying to follow along: it's tricky to see my teacher from my seat, and since I share a workbook with my roommate (who is taking the same class at the same time with a different teacher), I couldn't follow along with the review in the book either (and that's almost exclusively what we did today). Unfortunately (or fortunately, as you'll soon see), our teacher had apparently given us time to speak in English and arrange study-buddies with each other before the bell rang, meaning that I could no longer easily hide from participating. One of the only two men in our class was sitting next to me. He disturbed me from my doodling and downcast head, and very quickly and accurately (I was really shocked) perceived my problem. Without hesitating, he said, "Don't give up. We're all here to help each other. You can make it through the semester." My voice got a little thick when I responded with "I just don't know." Regaining composure, I wrote down his number and left the room shortly thereafter.

When I got home, I let myself cry. I hate crying in front of people, so I checked to see if anyone else was home, closed my bedroom door, and sat on my bed hugging a giant teddy bear. Yes, I'm probably a bit old to get comfort from a teddy bear (this is one that I've had since I was born), but it's the perfect size and squishability for those comfort hugs about 3 times a year. Meta-cognitively, I felt a little ridiculous for crying over a silly thing - it's only one class, not even a full month into school. But it was strange enough: this one class was all I cried over! Normally, if I become that stressed and sad over one thing, I remember all the other things I could be crying about, and I cry for those as well. I still don't know how I'm going to push or drag myself through the rest of the semester, as far as this class goes, but it was more of a stress-relieving cry than a I-just-want-to-give-up cry. Besides the physical relief, realizing that after I was done helped me to feel better emotionally. 

Now, I know what I need to do to make the pain go away; I've actually known it all along, but I was feeling too distraught to give it any credence as something that would help. If I want the anxiety and distress to go away, I need to change what I'm currently doing: I need to take the time to do the group practice outside of class (no matter how awkward or scary it might possibly be), I need to lean around my classmates to get a good view, I need to be willing to go the extra step to make sure I understand what's going on, and I probably need to review a bit on my own as well. I don't know how I'd be able to give each of my classes the 100% time and effort to be top-notch successful in each one, so I'm not expecting to. My goals are to prioritize and get the most important things done first, to use my time more efficiently, and to give my best effort that I can to improving. I'm not going to become the perfect college student overnight, but I can slowly become a better student than I was yesterday, and keep building on that, and trying my best to be diligent. When I do the best that I can, God will make up the difference, and He will take care of me.

Want to know how my day ended? After initially publishing this post, I went to my step-cousin's wedding reception, with my cousins, cousin-in-law, grandparents, aunts and uncles, great-grandma and great-aunt, and had a good time being with family (hand me a baby anytime and that'll keep me happily occupied until their parents come back, haha). I'm used to feeling awkward and self-conscious at functions with extended family (I've seldom ever lived close to them, or seen them more than a couple times a year), but tonight just felt really good. When I got back to my apartment, I found out that my new dance shoes and dance skirt had arrived in the mail, which made me SUPER excited! The skirt is gorgeous, and the shoes fit great! (They're tight, like dance shoes should be, but they don't threaten to strangle my toes to death and shred every layer of skin there is on the back of my ankle, like my last pair of too-small standard pumps). I listened to music with my roommates while they made their own version of Amish friendship bread (it got messed up a couple times in the process, so they stopped following the recipe). We also made a smoothie with overripe strawberries, a frozen plantain, key lime yogurt, orange juice concentrate, milk and vanilla, and some of us put some marshmallows in. Interesting combination, but hey - we're in college :) After retiring to my room, my roommate and I stayed up talking about different things. We finally decided to go to sleep after a painful bout of laughing that threatened to split our sides and I almost rolled off my bed. Now, I'm going to actually go to bed myself, but wanted to share that rough days don't have to end that way :)

1 comment:

  1. I love you. don't give up! It's true - the Lord will take care of the rest if we just keep picking ourselves back up and pray.. a lot. With His help, I have gone from D's and C's to getting exactly where I want to be, and exceeding my own expectations. Even though it took a few years. :) And when we are in celestial glory, we will look back and smile, not because we did well in every class, but because we learned things about ourselves and felt joy from improving.
    and I love that you said that bad days don't have to end that way. :)