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Chemistry – the Final Frontier

Lulled into a false sense of potential personal accomplishment after getting an A in my Prep for Chemistry class, I registered this semester for a General Chemistry class.  It is the LAST prerequisite I need before starting nursing school, and I knew it would be the hardest.  But with that A on my transcript in Prep for Chemistry staring out at me, smiling, doing a little confidence boosting cheer (Go, Anna! Go, Anna!, Go, go, go Anna!), I was confident that the worst I could do in General Chemistry was a B.  I mean, who goes from winning the gold medal in the 50 meter dash to tripping on their shoelaces and falling on their face in the 100 meter dash (please note my use of the word METER instead of YARD – that alone should be worth extra credit in my Chemistry class!)?

Oh, wait…

I’m not sure where I stumbled, although I know why I’m struggling to get up.  I took the first exam of the semester, and while I didn’t walk out of there thinking I got an A, I thought, “Wow, that was harder than I expected, but I think I passed.”  I didn’t.  So now, every time I walk in there to take an exam, I walk in with these words running through my head:

“Oh, you poor, dumb, delusional thing!  Shouldn’t you be home, writing your blog?  You know you can SPELL – and even if you screw that up, you have spell check!  Is this professor giving you “Net Ionic Equation” check?  I think not.  This is so not your thing.  I know, let’s leave now and go get Starbucks – we’ll both feel better!”

I signed up for tutoring – first with a personal tutor outside of school.  That went well.  He met me at Starbucks, which enabled me to get that commiserating latte when he said, “Yeah, shouldn’t you stick with writing?  Public relations?  You know how to do THAT.”  Then I switched to tutors at the college.  I feel so smart at tutoring.  I get all of the problems right that they give me to do, and I go home with a warm fuzzy feeling about Chemistry.  Then I start my homework.  You’ll notice the bald patches I have from pulling my hair out – that doesn’t happen in tutoring.  There is no stress there.

So, I’ve decided to try a new approach for the next exam.  I debated dropping the class and taking it again in the spring – maybe at the College of Chemistry for Dummies.  But that might mean not being able to go to tutoring – which is the only confidence boost I get all week pertaining to Chemistry.  I have decided that the end result of this semester doesn’t matter.  It’s not going to break me (although it may very well convince me that my Patch Adams health through happiness and laughter nursing ambition is a pipe dream), and it’s not going to make me cry.  Much.  But I’m going to stick it out, no matter what happens, just so I know I didn’t quit.  And when I sit down in that chair to take my exam, I am going to feel like it’s okay if I don’t do well.  The last of my Chemistry tears have been shed, and the others are water under the bridge.  Raging, angry, white capped waters (yeah, I cried a lot this semester).

No more psyching myself out.  It’s like I tell my kids when they’re fighting over who gets the pink cupcake and who gets the yellow.  You get what you get and you don’t get to bitch – or you get no cupcake.  No more bitching over chemistry.  I won’t get a cupcake for keeping my mouth shut, but I will get the satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t flee in the face of failure.  It feels damn good.