Tuesday, May 24, 2011

finding my limits

I graduated with a 2.67 in high school. Right in the middle of my class. I didn't apply myself. It was easier to fail without trying than it was to try and fail anyways. At least that's what I thought. My junior year I did better, pushed myself, did well, got into college. After I got in to college, I was done tho, and thus, the 2.67.

I didn't adjust well to college right after high school. After a semester I left. At which point I got distracted by sex, drugs, and rock & roll. After a baby, a husband, and a house, I went back to college again. It went better this time, but once the divorce started, I had to stop again.

Fast forward five more years, and I'm back in college for a third time. And? Third time's a charm. I did brilliantly. I was shaky at first, thinking that I was pulling a fast one with every 'A' I earned, somehow fooling the university into believing I was smart. It was sometime during my sophomore year that I realized I wasn't pulling a fast one, maybe I was just smart.

Scholarships, accolades, awards, ceremonies, honors fraternities, speaking engagements, more A's, more 4.0's, more scholarships, endless success. There was nothing I could not do. Working full time, pulling 6 credits, then 7, then 9... plus social activities, mothering, wife-ing, hobbying, all of it.

So when I decided to go to med school, and I decided to finish all the pre-req's in a year, I figured it would be hard work, but I figured that I would just put my head down, work hard, focus, and it would all work out just as it always had. Brilliantly.

Chemistry 2 and Calculus. In six weeks. At the same time. Difficult? Sure, but it's either easy, or it's impossible. I was in the business of impossible. Can't and won't weren't in my vocabulary. The first day of Calculus, he casually mentions sin and cos and that we better be familiar with them. I wasn't.

I ordered a solutions manual. I read the textbook. I went for help. I got tutoring. I spent hours and hours pouring over material I didn't understand. I worked through problems, I met with other students. I devoted everything to Calculus. And it didn't work.

Yesterday I failed a chemistry exam. Not in the "oh, you got a B, and that's failing for you, isn't it?" way, but in the 49% failing kind of way. This morning I withdrew from calculus. And I visited my chemistry professor. And I took a nap. And a walk. And watched some tv. And did some chemistry homework.

I can't do everything all at once. I have limits. So I take algebra in the fall, trig in the spring, and pre-calc next summer. And then I try calc again. I'm not giving up, but I'm going to stop trying to climb up the front of the empire state building and maybe take the stairs instead. I'll earn it when I get to the top. Even if it takes me longer than I thought it might.

It ain't about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. And you know what? This makes a great story for "overcoming obstacles" for those med school interviews.

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