Monday marked the last day of fall semester at school. It was an incredibly hard semester. It was hard for all the usual reasons- because I was taking two very time intensive classes at the same time, while trying to work, and have a life- but that is 90% of the class. What really made it hard is that I pushed myself harder than I ever have, in ways I had yet to see in myself. It showed me how it important it is for me, as an individual, to constantly challenge myself and advance as a person.
Since I've been back in school, I have put in the time and collected A's, but that's just it- I feel like I have collected them. I hadn't pushed myself so far outside of my comfort zone, that it actually changed me, until this semester.
I took upper division General Chemistry after an Intro to Chemistry course that taught me very little. I tested into upper division General Chemistry by one point, sheerly on dumb luck. I had no idea what I was doing while I was taking the entrance exam. I worked off my memory alone by looking for patterns in problems that looked vaguely familiar. I also took twice as long on the test as I was supposed to be allowed, because the test proctor was nice. I knew I would have to teach myself the subject while performing at a really high level.
My teacher told the class that if they were the type of people that were used to getting all As they should accept right now that there was going to come a point in the semester where they just weren't going to get one. Forget not getting an A, I got a C on the first Exam, I failed the second quiz, and then I cranked up the volume on what it meant to apply myself. A friend said, "In order to succeed in Chemistry, you can't just 'get it,' you have to master it." That's exactly how it is. The hard work never stopped. I started getting As midway through the semester, and just when I felt like I may actually be able to get comfortable or lazy, I hit a mid- C on the last exam. This left me in a very suspenseful position for my final grade. An A was still possible, but I was truly going to have to master everything I had learned the entire semester. By then, I was tired. Really tired.
Once I began to master the subject, it fascinated me. It explained the meaning of life. Seriously- we are all particles of energy bouncing around! I can't remember the last time I had a moment in school where I showed myself that I was capable of a lot more than I thought. I worked so hard in that class that by the time the end was near, I felt so proud of myself and knew my sense of pride would transcend whatever grade I got.
Of course I was happy to get an A, after studying for the final for 6 days, but I would have been proud of a B too because I was so proud of myself- for never getting lazy a single day in the semester, for mastering a subject that opened the doors to seeing the world in a different way, and for breaking my comfort zone and allowing room for growth. Now I know I can go to Nursing or Physical Therapy school and there is no doubt in my mind that I will succeed, because after this class I truly feel like I can do anything. And it is the best feeling I've ever had, next to being on stage and performing a poem, or that feeling of finally completing a poem on paper.
Next step: Poems about science? Triathlon?
But first, some rest and relaxation!