Okay, I am ready to talk about this. I think.
I had a Calculus exam. I studied like hell for the exam. I did an allnighter as well (and then ended up passing out near morning and waking up thirty minutes to the end of the exam). Of course I got to the exam room fifteen minutes to the end. It was basically a disaster. My professor took pity on me and offered to let me take the exam later in the evening at 5pm. I had an extra six hours to study.
I studied. I really did. I had two classes in between that and the exam time but I didn't even look up during any of them. I just spent both classes with my math book on my lap doing practice questions furiously in a notebook.
You'd think that after all this diligence I would have at least been able to scrape a decent score. It's not like I didn't know what I was supposed to do. For the first time in my life on a math exam I actually knew what every question was about. I knew what I was supposed to do, I wrote out all my formulas, everything in pencil before doing the actual calculations in pen.
I knew what I was supposed to do, but somehow I couldn't make what I knew and the questions fit. I must have tried each question a thousand times and a thousand different ways but somehow it just.wouldn't. work. I had two hours to write the exam, extremely generous considering that other people only had an hour and a half to write theirs and they didn't have the distinction of arriving one hour late for class like me. The paper was covered in calculations... but no answers. No answers because for some reason no matter which way I turned it, none of the calculations or formulas would fit. I knew what to do, I just couldn't figure out how to get there.
It feels terrible. I feel stupid. I hate exams like this because you come out feeling like a cretin. Like somehow you missed out on the basic intelligence sweepstakes. If I hadn't studied I wouldn't feel even half bad because I'd be able to say "I failed because I did not study", but I did. And that is what makes it even more bewildering and frustrating and disappointing. I honestly feel really, really, stupid.
I mean, I'll be realistic here. I am not good at math. I would much rather have done an exam on programming or the Google professional data engineer exam. I enjoy using technology and I also enjoy learning about it too. I'm sure I would have passed an exam like that with flying colors. It's definitely more of my forte, but unfortunately, I had to sit this maths exam. If I had a choice I wouldn't have anything to do with math of any sort. Calculations of any kind have never been my strong point and I really hate the sciences. I'll admit that much. It's very obvious where my natural strengths lie and that's within the Arts. My natural weaknesses are calculations and pure sciences. Social sciences, literature, languages, etc are all things I am really good at. No shame in that. But since we're being honest, I'll just talk about what I can do when confronted with math and science.
I am able, and I know this because I spent six years in that hellhole people like to call boarding school, I am able to do exceptionally well in math and the sciences, however, I must work for it. I am not one of those people that waltzes into Physics class and comes out nodding my head. My friends were really good at physics and ended up taking all the ap classes, I did ask them is ap physics c hard? (thinking I might give it a go) and they said it could be very stressful but with the help of a tutor, they got it in the end. Safe to say I think I was better off not taking the class as I was already struggling to keep up. The favourite past time of my Physics and Chemistry teachers was predicting to the class that I would undoubtedly fail both of their subjects in WAEC (I didn't, I ended up getting Bs). The fact that I got an A in WAEC math surprised both me and my Math teacher, but the point is this: I may not have to study at all to get A's in all other non-science subjects, but at least I do acknowledge that without studying I will undoubtedly fail math and if I study hard I should at the very least pass.
And that's why I feel like shit. Because I studied so hard and put everything into it and I couldn't write anything. I couldn't. I knew what the answers should have been but I couldn't make them work. And I tried and tried and kept trying until the time ran out and I had to turn in my paper with nothing on it. At least the scrap paper that I turned in as well has evidence that I tried. But it won't make a difference.
This is probably one of the worst exams I have ever written in my entire academic career. And I have written quite a few like it but the common theme with all of them is the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness when you realise there's absolutely nothing you can write and the shame of knowing that yet again, you have failed.
So thank you all for trying to make me feel better. I don't necessarily feel better about it per se, but I'm going to move on because I can't really do anything about it. If worst comes to absolute worst, I will have to withdraw from the class - one more admission of failure, but I'll deal with that bridge when I get there. If I can't turn my grades in this class around then I'll be forced to withdraw and repeat it. The thought of repeating a class makes me feel like even more of a loser but we'll see. I have to go to class tomorrow. I don't want to. I really hate walking into that class knowing that my performance is abysmal. It's even more frustrating because this is my last math class and I wish math would just fucking let me be.
I am not a math person. I do not enjoy calculus even a tiny bit. There is no joy to be found in formulas or calculations. None for me. I just want to get this over with and be done with it, but I've worked so hard that I would be shattered if this class ruined my gpa for all my other classes. I honestly cannot foresee a time in the future when knowing how to derive the derivative of another derivative could ever be of any kind of benefit to my life and I wish I did not have to learn this crap because it is just going to go where all the other Stuff-You-Learned-In-School-But-Will-Never-Use-In-Life goes.
Great, writing this post just made me want to cry. I'm tired of being a failure. I'm tired of being laughed at because I don't fit the traditional model of the shining perfect Nigerian daughter. I'm not perfect. In fact, I am highly imperfect. We can't even begin to discuss my long litany of imperfections so I'm not going to bother. I feel torn between two worlds: One in which I try to tell myself it's okay to fail sometimes and another where all I ever hear inside is how stupid I must be if people younger than me can accomplish something I can't.
I want to give this up. I really really do. I don't want to have to take this class. I despise the fact that I have to go to class tomorrow. I hate that I will have to walk into that class and try again...again. I just want to not have to do it.
But I must. You have to do what you have to do. Even if you feel like shitty crud doing it.
p.s. the guy sitting behind me just got some really bad news. He screamed and stood up and then started crying. He's a grown man so I really doubt he'd cry for anything short of a really crap deal. I said a quick prayer for whatever it was to turn out okay, but from the little I caught it seems really bad (like someone died or is missing bad). I really really hope not. He's a really nice guy. Life is hard enough without shit happening. Please God, let it be okay for him. Thanks.
So yeah, that's what happened. I suppose I won't always feel this way. And I suppose a day will come when I'll be free to tell Calculus 'up yours', but right now it just feels like one more insurmountable thing that I can't do and what's worse, it's threatening to ruin all my hard work in all the other classes I'm taking (International Marketing for instance).