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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An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time

Graduating college in any number of years is an accomplishment to be proud of.
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To the person that isn't graduating on time,

It sucks, and I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't. The day you walk out of Advising, head hanging down because you aren't going to finish in four years, makes you feel ashamed of yourself. You did well in high school; you were always told you were smart, expected to be smart, so why couldn't you make it out in four years like you were supposed to?

You know you're going to have to tell your family, so you begin preparing yourself for the worst reactions possible. And telling your friends you won't be graduating with them will only add to that sense of hopelessness.

Soon, you'll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You'll wonder how they did it, and you'll feel like a failure.

But you're not.

Graduating from college is a huge deal. It really is. And it will be no less of an accomplishment in five, six, or 10 years.

"According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time."

Things happen. You might change your major. You might have financial troubles. You may take a year off to figure out exactly what you want to do. That's okay. Take all the time you need. The real world and your career will still be there whenever you graduate.

Guess what else. Your family will still love you, and your friends will still support you. Give them some credit. Your loved ones want you to be happy and successful. Don't get me wrong, they may be upset at first, but give them a chance. Odds are, when the emotions settle, they will go right back to asking how classes are going. And when you do get the news that you'll be graduating, they will celebrate with you, and they will be there in the crowd, waiting for you to walk across that stage.

Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you're doing more than so many others are able to do.

"Among 18 countries tracked by the OECD, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it."

You'll get there. Take your time. Enjoy your classes. Find new interests. Study what you love. Embrace opportunities. Study abroad. Take that weird elective class. This is your time to take in everything the world has to offer. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate when you graduate, filled with pride and wisdom. And when they call your name, and you walk across that stage, hold your head up high, because you've earned every bit of your degree.

Graduating from college takes countless hours of studying, long hours in the library, and a tremendous amount of dedication. Don't add pressure to yourself by setting a timer. It is completely okay to graduate when you graduate, and it is still something to be proud of.

Best Wishes,
A woman who is finally graduating

Cover Image Credit: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120417041415-education-graduation-cap-story-top.jpg

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Crossroads

Trying to figure out what to do in life.

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I never saw the crossroad

Where I could cross n' roam

Under an arch or dome. [1]

I just kept on the road

That was laid out,

Told to hold out

Till it pays out. [2]

Now I think its too late

Been walking too long,

Classes are all wrong

But masses too strong. [3]

So I follow with my head down

And chest up, succeeding cause

I'm too scared to fuck it up. [4]

But I have a need to lead,

Top-down and gears up

Leaving nothing to the dust.

But if I drop out, I'm a fuck up. [5]

Is it better to live and rust

Or drive till it busts

With trust you can find the way? [6]


[1] - Play on roam/Rome. Starts the poem by expressing the feeling of being trapped in my path in life. I felt like I never got the chance to figure out what I wanted to do.

[2] - I think a lot of it was I was following what people told me I should be doing.

[3] - I have a feeling that it is too late to change my course of life. I'm in a college for business, taking classes about business, and everyone around me wants to do business.

[4] - This is saying that even though I am not passionate about what I am doing I am still trying to succeed only because I'm scared of failing or quitting.

[5] - I want to leave and lead myself, do something where I'm not following but I don't know how to do that. This part starts a car reference, idk I've been watching Formula 1 on Netflix and its dope.

[6] - This is the question I've been asking myself, wondering if I should continue on with my path or follow my passion.

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