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Big Decisions….

It seems like as an adult, every decision I make has the potential to be life-altering.  Sometimes I would really love to just be six again when my biggest concern was what I was eating for snack that day. 

Yesterday I made a huge decision.  There really was no right or wrong or even good choice…but under the circumstances I really believe I made the right one. 

But let’s back up….

All my life, from the time I was in elementary school, Mathwas a subject I struggled with intensely.  I spent time in basic skills classes, summer school and with tutors.  My mom bought me those books from the store to practice with and I had flashcards for all things math.  I usually managed to get through the classes; extra credit saved my butt!  As I got into middle school I was already behind in the math department and this was only made (much) worse by the fact that in 7th grade, the math teacher (who I actually felt like I could learn from) retired and they hired a replacement that was about as knowledgeable as a rat.  Seriously, I knew more about math then she did. Not kidding. So my year of pre-algebra in the 8th grade was a year of playing Oregon Trail and doing worksheets. Great. 

Obviously, I was in no way prepared for high school.  So there I was at fourteen, in an Algebra class…working with letters as numbers when I hadn’t even mastered numbers as numbers!  It was hell. I have no idea how I passed with a C. I also have no idea how I passed Geometry my sophomore year with C. Junior year I took a Business Math and because it had very little to do with actual math I did pretty well. Then the best thing ever happened- I was a senior and didn’t need a Math.  It was awesome!!!

Then I went to college….

…and the Math issues continued.  Of course I made a complete mess of the placement test and was put in the lowest possible (non-credit) math.  I worked my way through bothof the lower (non-credit) maths and pulled a C in Statistics.  Thank god for participation points!!!  So okay…I graduated with my Associates at community college…math done for life, right??? Not right….not even close.  I had taken a few years off from from school after community college (got my cosmetology license…worked and made lots of money…lived the good life for a while) but eventually decided to go back and get my Bachelors.  I applied to Rutgers and got accepted. Yeah!!! But then they made me take a placement test….WHAT….excuse me….I am done with Math. No. No I wasn’t. Because Rutgers decided that I had been out of school for too long and they weren’t going to take my Math from community.  And worse, because I once again made a mess of the placement test, they were going to make me start at the lowest math again.  Two more non-credit maths.  It was enough to make me not go back to school.  But I figured, I made it through once, I can do it again.  Not true. I did okay in the first class but the second one…yeah, failed it once and dropped it once. Thank god non-credit courses have no bearing on a G.P.A!!!  Anyway…coming into this year (2009-2010) I only need three classes to graduate. One of them is math…but I haven’t even passed the placement class yet.  So I begged (read:groveled) my advisor to override the non-credit class and let me take the summer credit Math.  I really thought I would be able to do it- summer classes, while acclerated, are usually a little more lax and the class was said to be directed to students “who struggle with math concepts.”  My advisor agreed and I was in the class.

I started the class Monday.  It took me all of 45 minutes to figure out that my struggles with Math concepts are signifcantly below other students struggles. And worse…my Professor had no plans to take a lax approach to the class.  We would be covering one chapter a night.  The grade was going to be based on four tests.  Each of the first three tests would be on five chapters and the final would be cummulative. WHAT!!!!!!!!! Yeah, I knew right then, I was probably going to die fail.  Great. F’ing great!  Still, I went to the second night of class…I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.  But night two was worse than night one…and I could see a pattern developing. And it was not a good pattern.

It was decision time.

I had two options:

-try to finish the class and chance failing; and the chances were high that I wouldn’t pass.  Failing would take my 3.5 G.P.A on a downhill spiral and I would still have to retake it.  And yeah, I would be out my money for the class as an added bonus.

-drop the class, take a W which does not affect my G.P.A and get half of my money refunded.

Number two sounds like a no-brainer. But the problem lied in the fact that both decisions would mean that come Spring I would be three Math credits short.  No graduation. No diploma. Nothing to show for my hard work.  Three years of working full time and going to school and being on the Dean’s List….and I’ll be the girl who left college with three credits to go.  

I still chose option two. 

I feel like a loser. I feel like a failure. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and money.  I feel stupid; not because I dropped, but because I am 28 years old and I can’t pass Math.  Still, with all that said…I am at peace with my decision. 

There is one small glimmer of hope; I am going to work on drafting a letter chronicling my life-long struggles and high-lighting my succeess (awards, dean’s list…etc) and hope that there is something…anything…that can be done to help me get through all this.  I cannot possibly be the first person to ever struggle with a subject.  So while it seems like I am at a dead end…all is not hopeless.  I am still going to attend school this fall and finish my other credits and while I am not going to get my hopes up, I am going to be a bulldozer when it comes to finding an avenue to get out of this mess.  All I need is for one person to understand. 


Ok…rant/whining session over.  Sorry for the non tri/running post but I just had to get this all out.

5 thoughts on “Big Decisions….

  1. Don’t beat yourself up to much, sometimes it is what it is and you gotta do what you gotta do. I completely understand how you feel about Math. I didn’t even bother with a conventional college/university after high school… it was straight to techinical school I went for a Digital Media degree. Why? Because I can not grasp the concept of math. I struggled with it all through school and accepted defeat. I would’ve been a 4.0 had it not been for math. Chin up! You did what was best for you and with some patience you’ll get where you need to be.

  2. I feel for you. Math was never my strong subject either (probably why I became an editor). For what it’s worth, I think you made the right decision to drop the class. And I hope your efforts to be excused from that requirement prevail!
    Be proud of how far you’ve come. You deserve that. And don’t let the math thing bring you down. I hope your advisor or someone in the school can steer you in a direction that will help you graduate with or without the math!

  3. Pingback: Finishing is Winning

  4. Oh man, I really, really, really hope you find someone who can understand. It’s really worth the fight. I hope it works out. Math is one of those subjects where so much depends on the teacher. I can tell you for sure that I loved math at some points, hated it at others, and, guess what, I call tell you with 100% certainty that it always coincided with how I felt about the teacher and how well that teacher taught. Obviously, summer school wasn’t the right choice, so it’s so great you got out. There’s gotta be an alternative, for sure. I know it’ll work out.

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