In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion. Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!
I was a smart kid. Not motivated, and certainly not well-directed in my educational goals, but I had a talent for learning and for taking tests.
My family wasn’t particularly concerned with my academic performance. They were pleased that I earned good grades, but there really weren’t any expectations that I’d go on to college.
For the first eight years of my formal education all the subjects were ridiculously easy for me: English grammar and literature, Social Studies, even Science and Mathematics. Seldom did I need to study, even though had I done so on a regular basis I might have ended up near the top of my class.
In ninth grade my good grades landed me in an accelerated algebra class and my educational wheels fell off. I worked my butt off in that class, but the concepts were so abstract that my brain was unable to process them.
I literally thought that I must have missed the lesson explaining what “n” and “x” were, so night after night I’d reread my algebra text from the beginning trying to unlock the code. Surely, I thought, if I could just figure out their values I’d be okay. The concept of a variable just made no sense.
With the help of a good and brilliant friend I managed to stay afloat, even though she occasionally became exasperated and annoyed with my questions. It seemed simple to her, why couldn’t everyone “get it?”
Our accelerated class churned through one and a half years of algebra in one school year, then we moved on to Geometry. Holy crap. If I’d been merely struggling in algebra, geometry put me down for the count. I lasted half the year and then dropped the class since it wasn’t required to graduate.
I can’t even remember what replaced Geometry in my schedule, I just know that for the first time in my academic life I doubted myself. It was a lowdown, crummy feeling.
Following my junior year my family moved to a slightly larger town. I met my future husband (Studly Doright was so cute back then) and even though I went to junior college for a year my heart wasn’t in it, and I was petrified by the idea that I wouldn’t be able to conquer college algebra. So I married my Studly and we settled into our lives together.
When our children were in elementary school we decided that I should go back to college, and with a totally new focus I rocked that scene. To my surprise and delight I was still a smart kid. With trepidation I faced my college algebra class. What was once too abstract for my 14-year-old brain now made sense. Amazing!
It was the only class I didn’t earn an “A” in, though, preventing me from graduating college with a perfect 4.0. But, that “B” felt like a victory after all those years, and summa cum laude looked great on my transcript.