Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Erg.


I apologize for the lack of posting here, but truthfully, I've been rather preoccupied and mentally exhausted. I'm doing okay so far in two of my classes, but I am bombing fairly badly in Bio and Algebra. I'm willing to accept that I might be dense, but I keep coming back to the fact that the way the classes are set up is so confusing and anti-learning. The way I see it, some of these university classes are set up for the very opposite of success. It's clear to me now why there's such a high 'academic dishonesty' rate at my school.. I was shocked to hear that at the time, but after last semester and the beginning of this one, I think I totally understand why. Hell, I only got an A in Plant and Soil Sciences last term because I had a binder full of stuff belonging to a girl who had taken the class previously. I would have gotten a C or less without it, for sure.. and while I feel slightly guilty, like I cheated, I honestly feel it justified because the teacher and the course were impossibly ridiculous.

Bio is an advanced class, so the material is detailed and complicated. I feel like I've had a hundred new terms and concepts thrown at me rapid-fire, and only a handful of them have stuck. I kinda like the lab, even though it's a little crazy and requires a fair amount of work on its own. The subject appears to be so much more difficult than I ever expected.. I mean, I've always been good at biology. I try doing the reading and most of the time, I end up having to re-read each paragraph because it's so over my head.. and then still come away with almost nothing. I got 55 on my first exam. Fuck.

Algebra isn't any better. Both Bio and Algebra are huge classes and they move at a speed too fast for my brain. The math is really, really pissing me off because I just don't get the format of the class. The book is also really confusing and counter-intuitive. I would love to do the homework, but every time I sit down to do it, I end up frustrated and ready to throw something. I even got out my previous Algebra book to see if it could explain some of the concepts better. Class essentially is the instructor powering through a bunch of concepts with one example each, and then lab feels like a bunch of stuff we haven't had explained, tossed at us to figure out on our own. I don't get it, and I don't know how much more of this I can handle. I had an exam yesterday and even with the sheet of paper of notes and formulas I was allowed to bring, I got a mere 62%. Obviously, even with it all in front of me, I don't get it and that just frustrates me all the more. I know I'm not the only one, so how the hell can the university claim this class to be a successful format? How does anyone pass?

I went to Algebra 'supplemental instruction' this morning, something I would have done anyway because I'm so confused, because it was required due to my poor test score. I was praying, actually praying, that SI would help clear things up. And while I do understand somewhat better, the hour was similar to the confusing blur of the Monday and Friday classes. I don't know what I'm going to do. Well, actually, I do.. probably therapy and a couple of tutors. Jesus.

I admit that I'm fairly lazy when it comes to school work, but what do you do when you can't do it? Or when you do it, but still don't understand? I keep wondering what is wrong with me. I know I'm intelligent, and that makes me think I should be able to do whatever I set my mind to. Like, if I just work hard enough, I should be able to do well. In the past, this has always worked, but right now I feel like such a failure. I find university depressing because everyone else seems to be coping so much better than I am, because I don't see people getting so overwhelmed, frustrated, and fed up that they want to cry in their classes. Is it possible I'm not cut out for this?

The only thing keeping me going is the thought of the alternative. Waiting tables or working some crap-ass job, making no money, struggling the rest of my life. I can't do that.. I'd end up homocidal or suicidal. I just... I have a hard time imagining at least two more years of this shit. I don't know if it's me, the school, or the university environment in general. Is it that I'm not studying hard enough, or that the school is a beaurocratic hellhole, or would I feel the same anywhere else?

I've been pretty anti-social lately and haven't been hanging out with anyone. I realized the other day that in any given day, aside from a few sentences now and then at school, I don't talk to anybody. I go to school, get stressed out, and come home to hide in my hermit shack. My early classes leave me tired the entirety of the day, which is compounded by the fact that I can't fall asleep (and stay asleep) at the times I should be going to bed. I've been avoiding the few friends that I have; truthfully, I just don't have the desire or energy to socialize right now. I also feel consumed by my angst and don't want to dump it on anyone. I don't think I've ever been more of a loner, and I don't know how I feel about that. I seem to be going the opposite direction of where I want to go in my life.

The only really fun thing I've done lately was an Aquaculture field trip to a reclaimed mine drainage site that doubles as a fishery for rainbow trout. They have a pond with these huge trout, some of them nearly ten pounds and three feet long, that escaped from the net cages. The fish seem to really like the pond, so they were left there, and now they occasionally let people come to fish for them. It's catch-and-release, but man, was it fun. Those fish were big and agressive.. my first one had to have been at least 24 inches, and it fought me tooth-and-nail. Probably took me about five minutes to get it near the pond bank, and even then it kept swimming away. I caught so many fish that I lost count (some I didn't actually land), but it was over ten in the hour we were there. In fact, those fish were so big and strong that my arms and shoulders were sore the next day from fighting with them. I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy fishing and trying to get the trout back into the water as fast as possible. Really fun, though, and what's better is we have a couple more of these trips to look forward to.

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