I Hate Calculus.

I Hate Calculus.

"I want people to like me, and through the years I have formed a warped mindset that people liked me based on how smart I was."
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From kindergarten to my senior year, school was always the same for me. I showed up, paid attention, got good grades, and went home. That’s it. I remember coming home and my mom asking what homework I had, but I had already done it in class before the teacher was done talking. I was always on honor roll, and my teachers always loved me. I never learned to study, because I never had to. As a kid, I never played sports, I wasn’t exceptionally cute, I didn’t have a special talent, but I had school. I had my grades. I couldn’t wait for my report card to come out, so I could take it home because I knew my parents would be so proud of me. My grandparents would call and praise me for how well I was doing and sometimes I would even get money for my good grades.

My life was like this for twelve years. My thirteenth year of school, my senior year of high school, I decided to take AP Calculus. I have always loved math, so I knew it would be a breeze. Spoiler alert: I was wrong.

Calculus didn’t seem that bad when it first started, but when the first test came around, everything changed. My grade wasn’t what it should have been, and I was mad because I knew I could’ve done better. In my frustration, I walked down the hallway before class and talked to some younger students. I said in a dramatic and mildly sarcastic way, “Guys, don’t take calculus. It will ruin your life.” The teacher of that class heard me, got my teacher, and brought her to me and the other students. My calculus teacher then proceeded to write questions on the board I missed on the test and said, “Well I’m sure it wouldn’t ruin their lives because they might actually be able to get some easy test questions right.”

I was crushed. She exposed me. I was known as the “smart kid” and it felt as if she took that from me in less than a minute. I remember getting in my car after school and bursting into tears. Let’s just say that things did not improve from there. I couldn’t tell any one this for a long time or even say it out loud, but I failed high school calculus.

Everything I had ever known changed for me. My teacher didn’t love me, my grade wasn’t an A, no one was praising me for my grades. I didn’t know what to do. I felt lost. What I didn’t realize at that time was my identity was in the wrong place. For years I placed my value and identity in how well I did in school, but that was so unhealthy.

Since senior year calculus, college has not been easy. I’ve had to retake a class and I’ve had a situation that hurt me right in this spot, and that’s why I’m sharing this. I know I can’t continue to put my identity in my grades.

Last semester I took Organic Chemistry. It was by far the hardest class I’ve ever taken. Guess what … I made a D in Organic Chemistry. Once I finished the class, I heard from several people that one of my tests (that I MAJORLY failed) was seen by everyone in my class as well as the other O-Chem class. People were saying hurtful things behind my back that confirmed by biggest fear. I wasn’t smart. I haven’t felt hurt like that in a long time. I was once again exposed. I feel as if when people see me, they don’t see my humor or cute curly hair or heart for Jesus or character, I feel like they see an idiot and a failure.

To some people, this may not be a big deal, but I sit here writing with tears in my eyes because sharing this with others is so hard. This is where I must be vulnerable in order to change my way of thinking. For so long I have based my happiness and self-worth on whether people think I'm smart. I want people to like me, and through the years I have formed a warped mindset that people like me based on how smart I was. Sharing this for anyone to see feels like walking around the mall naked. I feel exposed, embarrassed, and vulnerable.

I’m working so hard every day to reshape where I put my identity and what is true about me. I know that once I’m a doctor, no one will care what my high school GPA was or that I failed calculus or had to retake Organic Chemistry. I know that at the end of the day, I am loved by the God that created the Universe, an amazing family, and a tight group of friends. I also know I am smart. Grades do not define my intelligence and what others say or think about me does not matter.

Cover Image Credit: jeshoots.com

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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