Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sage Advice

So I had lunch with my friend Edette, and I have to send a big thank you her way. She'd seen on here how I was already stressing about classes and asked me about it. I just said, "I'm taking [class] with [professor]" and she said, "Oh, enough said." She'd taken this person as well and had a similarly stressful experience. Now it sounds like my class is a bit different, but she said one thing that stuck in my head: "There is absolutely no reason to take that person for a grade. Ever." She had the same feeling as me - why take something pass/fail when you're going to do all the work anyway? Well, because in this class you can do all the work, as well as you're able, and still get a B-.

Maybe it's childish of me, but I've gotten all A's through seminary and if I got a B in my last class it would leave a sour taste in my mouth. Especially knowing that I'm capable of an A and this is more about the prof than me. Apparently this prof gets so many grade complaints (and never changes grades) that people in the know purposely avoid the classes. It's not that I'm not going to work hard, because I will, but I also know that I presently have limitations on my ability: I have baby brain and I need to seriously curb my stress level. I consider this a self-care move. Sometimes ego (and wanting to seem tough to all of you & my peers & profs) has to be laid aside in favor of just staying sane. I have already seen glimpses of what I could do to myself over this class, and it is not worth it. Even if it's not justified or all in my head, it's still real enough that it could cause problems for the baby, and she is my top priority.

So it's largely taking care of myself and baby, and it's a bit of senioritis, and, yeah, in a way, it's that need to maintain the illusion of perfection so I go out strong. I want to leave Fuller feeling really proud of my work there, not deflated and depressed over one silly class. And since the PhD programs already have my transcripts, they're not going to mind me doing a pass/fail (and if anything, it would look better on a final transcript than sending off a C to them).

OK, if you couldn't tell, I'm trying to talk myself into this a bit. The whole thing is so nuts, isn't it? Worrying about grades at all, I mean. And I so wish I could be one of those people who is like, "Who cares if I get a B? It doesn't represent my self-worth!" and in some ways I am, but in other ways I'm like seriously, why put the strain on myself? I can do all the same work and not worry a bit about what the grades on it are, because I know I will definitely do B or B+ level work (B+, by the way, is 90-93% - an A is 96-100 - when was this scale adopted? I give it a hearty boo! Let's return to the happy days of all 90's being A's!), that would probably be A-level to most profs, and I'll pass no problem. But when something comes back with lower-than-expected numbers on it, I don't have to stress, I can just let it go. I know this is a healthier decision for me. Passing the class is easy (well, easy for me at my work level), and frankly I'm really into easy right now. I've got humongoid life changes and decisions going on. My classes are the last thing I need to worry about! (not my last "work on" priority, but "worry about" priority)

OK, that's settled then. Now I just have to fight the urge to hate myself if I miraculously pull off an A anyway! (I just need to remember it wouldn't help my GPA, which can only go down at this point, and won't be affected at all by an A or a Pass) And honestly, any person reading my transcript, and looking at the class I took pass/fail I think would give me a break. We're talking really tough material, and simply not in my area of future study.

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