Friday, October 12, 2012

Real Gurl Goes to College: Never Woulda Thought

Math has never been my strong suit.  Of all the classes it was so intimidating.  I never felt confident in math and if I scored well on homework or a test it felt like I was really fooling everyone.  If only they knew that I wasn't as smart as I seemed!

I was one of the kids that tested well and put in algebra in 8th grade.  I remember the few of us who were selected for this honor.  We really thought we were big dogs.  We were taking algebra.  It sounded so....HIGH SCHOOL!  But it wasn't long before I looked around the classroom and everyone seemed to be getting it but me and on top of that, they LIKED it!  I felt lost and left out.  I don't know how but I got enough points to get an okay grade and passed.  

Passing only brought new problems.  It meant that I was automatically placed in geometry as a freshman.  In my particular class, I was the only freshman amongst mostly juniors.  I was very intimidated with theorems, Pythagoreum and such, as well as high school in general, but I made an effort to keep up.  It proved to be unsuccessful and it wasn't long before I skipped class for the first time ever, avoiding the problem and making it much worse.

Looking back, I realize that in my younger years learning and education came very easy to me.  I wasn't used to having to put forth so much effort.  I was easily the best reader and was the spelling bee winner every week in second grade.  But as classes like geometry required more and more, and I failed to step up, I got further and further behind.  Finally, giving up, I managed to get a D, passing, and did not take any further math.  This affected my confidence in all of my other classes as well.  People thought I was smart and I kept pretending it was true, but I felt more and more alone as I kept up pretenses.

Today I am in college for the first time in my life and my placement test showed I should start in algebra/trig.  I was dubious that I would be successful so I chose to start in algebra.  In addition to that, I chose to have algebra class on a day with no other classes.  I wanted to be able to focus on math alone without any other distractions.

Now, three weeks in and I am relieved!  I have worked at staying up with the teacher, following the classwork closely and I don't stop until I understand.  This week I was ahead of the entire class and waiting on them and actually helped other students with the classwork!

This has been a big boost to my morale and even to my thoughts on future schooling.  I have realized that I CAN do it and the success is encouraging and fulfilling.  I am facing some old fears and overcoming them.  I simply cannot believe it.  Algebra.  I never would have thought.