wApr 7, 2006

Holy shit; there be angst.

This is probably the most honest post I've written in a while. I keep track of who reads this blog and it usually causes me to inflict self-censorship on myself. Today, this is not the case. You have been warned.

In spite of my stated premonitions regarding the English paper I handed in on Monday, I still felt that I could at least improve. Even if it was only from a C+ to a B-. This did not happen.
Part of the reason why I expected the grade to improve at least marginally was because of the comments I received from my cousin, who is a grad student/English TA at Iowa State. She said that the paper was well-written. My TA disagreed, or at least felt so strongly about other aspects of the paper that this was overridden. On the surface, I would accept this because different TAs have different opinions. However, she also said that it was well-supported, which a statement that my TA disagreed with very much.

I understand that some people are smarter than other people and that leaves some people behind. I understand that for every A, there are at least two C's in a class. I even understand why I receive the grades I do most of the time. I bust my ass trying, but I am simply not good enough. Not everybody can be good enough, and while I'm not okay with not being good enough, I can at least understand it. Usually, I hate myself quite a bit for it because no matter what I do, I can't improve. I spend so much time thinking about school and how I can take notes and do my homework and work on paper and study that it is almost certainly unhealthy, and yet I still cannot improve. I hate myself for my inability to crawl out of this hole. But I can understand it.
What I don't understand is why when I meet with a TA twice in person and send my outline through email (and receive comments on it) so as to discuss my paper well in advance of the due date, I still get a C+.
You state almost nothing in here that was not discussed in lecture or in section. Although your basic analyses are correct you leave much undiscussed and unexplained. You make a number of assertions that require significant support.
I am also curious why you cut the scene where Marinell gives Britomart a serious blow, even if she wins.

So, fine. The "stealing everything from lecture or discussion" is a comment I've received on everything I've gotten back thus far, but I really felt like this paper went somewhere that we didn't go in class. But even so, I went deeper than where we went in class. And regardless, even if I am a dullard who is incapable of developing my own ideas, this is definitely something that could have been mentioned one of the three times this paper was discussed. I did not once hear, "This is fine except that it's all from lecture."
I'm not asking my TA to write my paper for me. But when I get a C, I'm going to try my damndest to do better. I am obviously too much of an idiot to pull it together by myself, so I seek help. I brought my ideas to my TA, and I would not have moved forward if I didn't feel like they were on the right track.

I just hate this so much, and I can't remember the last time I felt this furious. The exact same thing happened last year with my Economics class - I broke my back bending over for that class - going to tutoring, meeting with my TA, taking good notes in section, lecture, and from the book, and doing every freaking practice problem until I got it right. And despite this, I still never improved.

1.75 years at this university have taught me that I really am nowhere near as smart as I thought I was coming in. I am perfectly willing to accept the fact that I'm stupid. But in this case in particular, I feel that improvement could have been made and it's not my fault that it wasn't.

I plan to meet with the professor during his office hours on Wednesday, but I don't expect anything to come about. He is a very harsh grader himself, and even if I show him the email from my TA and describe my meetings with him, I highly doubt that anything else will happen, even if I only ask for advice for the third and final paper.

It's not like I'm majoring in biomedical engineering or something. I'm not saying that my classes are easy, but they are also not the same as a 100-level class. Comprehension of the material is not the issue. I understand everything that is said in lecture. I understand and engage with and even enjoy the texts that we read. I understand everything that is said in discussion, and I take notes in both (which are obviously too detailed, as they permeate into the ideas that become the foundations of my paper - A Very Egregious Sin). Despite this, I consistently receive C's.

And now I have to finish my Asian American Women Writers paper before 5:00 so that I can spend my weekend studying for Criminal Law & Justice. I know that I will try my hardest, but I also highly suspect that despite my best efforts, I will receive poor grades on both of these projects. I started off poorly on the first round of papers/exams, and I will not improve. Because I never do.
I had been giving a lot of thought to after-college endeavors lately, and I think I'm probably going to have to give up the options of Grad school and Law school if only because of my GPA. Nothing I do or have done will or has made it go up, and with the way this semester is going, it's going to get worse. My level of self-loathing has reached an all-time high.

And please, for the love of Christ, do not leave a comment telling me to "cheer up" or that "everything will feel better when you wake up tomorrow morning." I feel like this all the time and have for a number of years. This is the cause of the "unhappy" face which prompted people to tell me throughout my life that I am always looking angry and I should "smile more."
There is nothing worse than being fully aware of your inaptitude every second of your life and having absolutely no idea what people such as yourself are supposed to do with their lives. And when I look at my life as the glorious whole that it is, the realm of academia is probably the smallest source of my self-loathing.

Current Music: Wind. At least the weather reflects my mood, because if the sun was shining, I'd probably fucking kill somebody.
scribbled mystickeeper at 11:27 AM

Ummmmmmm...I saw a turkey in Pioneer Park yesterday! True.

I was going to post last night, but was afraid you would come through the screen and kill me. But you seem better today (Saturday), so just want to remind you to come out after the Easter Vigil! (you know the place) Carrie and Bob have already forewarned said establishment that our church crew will be taking over that evening. Looking forward to seeing you!

Oh and the voice thingy is cool. And if I have anything to say about it, you WILL be invited to K and C's wedding. And your TA is a dumb@**. Just my opinion.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:43 AM, April 08, 2006  

Yeah! Even if I don't go to the Easter Vigil, I will definitely be at Smokey Bones. I've been looking forward to it for a few weeks now, :)

I'm happy to know I'll be invited to the wedding, lol.

And yeah, my dad shared the same opinion of my TA, which made me laugh. He is a nice and intelligent guy, though - so I guess I'm mostly just frustrated because I thought that things were going to be okay.

By Blogger Jackie, at 11:26 AM, April 08, 2006  

Okay, so I definately have done the same problems as you have on my papers, which number very few so I had figured out the secret quick. The internet. So if everything you are saying comes from lecture and the book and your professors/ TA's are getting pissy, research it online, get another opinion. I can't say for sure that this is the cure to your problem, but if you see it in another light, throw a twist in your paper that no one else is going to have that is what they want. Although the ideas might not all be your own they will make you think more, and sooner or later something original will come to you. But until then, summerize a new point of view or as I like to do, throw in a few fun facts. it makes it look like you did a lot of extra work as well without really working all that hard.

Don't give up on your dreams of grad or law school. I have yet to figure out what you do with your life when you give up your dreams, and I don't want you to be the one telling me (i think it includes a lot of alcohol and drugs) My big sister got into grad school and she has to have like a 2.8 at tops. if nothing else you can come up here for our business grad school and hang out with rachel =)

and oh yeah, what every doesn't kill us will make us stronger. you know this is true.

I am jealous that you get to go home this weekend.

By Blogger heather, at 8:48 AM, April 12, 2006  

Your advice about using the Internet is good - I had actually tried for a while with the other papers, but I think I'll have more luck browsing for opinions and other insights on the current text than the other ones we did - it's more controversial. Throwing in random facts is something I really hadn't thought of.

I won't give up on grad school or law school (well, this one I might HAVE to, lol) quite yet - although I'm not even sure that these ARE what my dreams are - I hadn't known about your sister's GPA being a 2.8, and this does give me a lot of hope.

You are also right about this making me stronger - I'm definitely not giving up, even on these grades, even if I know for certain what I'm going to get. I'm going to try my hardest to kick ass, and even if I don't get the grade, trying your hardest can be very satisfying.

So in essence, your comments are very encouraging and made me feel a lot better when I read them this morning. I love you, and thank you!
I hope you have a good Easter!

By Blogger Jackie, at 11:25 PM, April 12, 2006  

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