Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back To School

Because I am tired of being the "dumb" one on the audio team at church, this fall I decided to take a college course on sound mixing at a local community college. Oh boy. Last week I got a first look at my thick textbook and a surge of anxiety shot through my body like a bullet. It is very math/physics heavy, and let's just say that I am not a math specialist. This is hysterical, given that I graduated with a degree in Accounting/Finance. The world at large is safe, however, because I am a homemaker and not working in that field!

A little thicker than I anticipated
Yikes!

When I first went back to college to get my degree (at the age of 36) I had to take a few remedial math courses first, before I could even take the basic accounting courses. One of my advisors asked me why I was pursuing an accounting degree if I wasn't good at math. I told him that I liked a challenge and that I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. (Plus, I hate writing term papers. I figured there would be fewer research reports in a math heavy field and I obsess SO much about accidental plagiarism!) I think he thought I was a little crazy.

With some at home tutoring from my husband (yes, I know, this guy manages to show up in almost all of my stories), I managed to do very well in my classes. But, I literally made myself sick with anxiety. I considered anything less than an A to be an absolute, dismal failure. Nothing else was acceptable. Believe it or not, that was part of the reason I ended up in my psychologist's office in the Fall of 2009. I had just had a brutal summer of accelerated classes (same work as in a 16 week class stuffed into either 8 or 6 weeks). Sure, I got A's, but at what cost? My sanity. I was a walking mess.

I am determined to not let that happen again. I have decided that even if I fail this class, it is ok, as long as I learn something. I am only taking this class for my own personal information. I do not plan to ever get a job in this field, so it really shouldn't matter what my grade is. But . . . ah there is personal pride at stake. There is my own perfectionism I have to deal with. Though I hate to admit this, I can also be a very competitive person. I struggle when I am bested by someone else. I think my self esteem is a wee bit too wrapped up in my performance.

The building where my audio class is held

My ERP for this fall is to accept being "good enough." I have a quiz scheduled for next Monday. I will do the assigned reading and that is it. No more. I do love learning, just for the sake of learning, so I will concentrate on that. I will enjoy the smell of my new textbook (for those of you who are avid readers - you know what I mean!!). I will focus on the new friends I can make at class (even if they are 20 years younger than me!). I will walk through the halls and soak in the joy of being part of academia again. I will walk through the pretty campus and marvel at the changing color of the leaves. In short, I will just be. And that is good enough.

The library


18 comments:

  1. Math is really intimidating to me also. I have to say that you kinda made me chuckle because I am always going into these things reassuring myself I don't have to do the best, saying to myself it is ok to do half-good or even fail. Only the over-achiever has that conversation with themselves right? You are very smart to enjoy the process of taking this class Sunny. I am thinking of taking a class this winter - something fun at the community college.

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    1. Ha ha, yes, Krystal Lynn, I think it is only the over-achiever that says stuff like that! I really do want to enjoy this. Plus, I think if I'm enjoying it, I will actually learn and retain more of the information.

      Any ideas of what class you might want to take?

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    2. I would like to take a creative writing class. The thing I am hesitant about is if we have to read our work in class. It isn't the public speaking part, I have no problem getting up in front of people but reading my own writing would be intimidating to me. Maybe I ought to just suck it up.
      I have to tell you that I worked for an engineering company a few years ago and they sent me to a analytical chemistry course at Texas A&M. I don't know why I consented to it, but the first day I found out I was in class with a bunch of scientists from the Nuclear Facility at Los Alamos because they only give this course once every 3 years so people come from all over the US. I came home and cried. We didn't get a final grade, it was Pass or Fail for the course and I passed but I sometimes think maybe they just passed everybody or felt sorry for me. LOL

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    3. Wow - I so would have cried too! I'm not sure I would have showed up for the rest of the classes. I think it is incredible that you went ahead and continued with the class AND passed.

      Absolutely - go for the writing class. I bet you would be really good at it - you're quite funny and you're a good story teller. I know what you mean though about displaying your work in front of others - it is a really vulnerable feeling - like you are exposing a part of your heart. But like anything else . . . the more you do it the easier it gets, right?

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  2. I can't do Maths. It's never been my strong point.

    I think you're really brave facing up to your fears like that :)

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    1. Well, Kate, I'm either really brave or really stupid!! Ha ha ha I guess we'll find out which one it is. : )

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  3. I think it's great that you're taking a class! It sounds interesting, though I admit that textbook looks like it's written in a foreign language that I don't know. :-)

    I am just like you when I take a class--an overachiever. I think your ERP is a great idea, and I hope you do enjoy the process. And I think you're right--the more you enjoy it, the more you'll learn.

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    1. Ha ha - a foreign language! So true, Tina. It does look like that. It's definitely intimidating. And it will really be a challenge to fight that whole overachieving thing. I'm starting to find that life is one giant ERP.

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  4. Proud of you. I was never a strong student in school. Math being my weakest subject big time! Blessings.

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    1. Aw, thanks, JBR!! Hmm . . . from all the comments - I'm sensing a theme that we all have trouble with math. I'm trying to figure out who in the world does well with it??

      Blessings back at ya!

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    2. I do, I do! I come from a family of scientists and engineers. Our social skills are rotten, but we sure are good at math. :)

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    3. Ha ha ha! Well, Ann, you just became my tutor for this class!! I will expect you to be available for nightly Skype sessions at 8 p.m. EST. ; )

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  5. You sound just like me, Sunny ... someone who doesn't want to settle for second place. It's a hard road to walk, but you sound like you have a good handle on your ERPT and your mindset going into this class! Nice work! Proud of you!

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    1. Well thanks, Jackie!! It IS a hard road to walk when so much of your self worth is tied up in the wrong things. And it's true, getting second place sometimes feels like you are just settling. There is this old fashioned phrase that says, "Second place is the first to lose." (Or something like that anyway!) I have long believed that, to my own detriment. I have my work cut out for me this semester.

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  6. I actually did my senior thesis (many, many years ago) on math anxiety (I had studied to become a math teacher) and I find the whole subject fascinating.....
    Anyway, what I really want to say is "Good for you!" for going ahead with this class and having the right attitude: to learn just for learning's sake. I'm sure it will be a great experience. I can't wait to hear (read) about it!

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    1. Ooooh, I would LOVE to read your thesis, Janet! What an interesting subject. The description of "math anxiety" is really dead on. Just today, I was reading my textbook and I was so turned around because of all of the numbers that I was looking at the wrong graph and didn't even know it! I think it is because I see numbers and my brain sort of freezes.

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  7. Good for you, Sunny! I've read it's good for our brains to keep challenging them...do you have any continuing ed programs nearby where you can take non-credit courses? The joy of learning without the anxiety over grades!

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    1. Thanks, Jean!

      Actually, that is a really great idea to take non-credit courses. There is a school relatively close to me that does offer these types of courses. Things like conversational Spanish, cooking, etc. I may just have to do that next!

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