College teaches many lessons. For me, I believe that one of the most important lessons it has taught me is a lesson in humility.
And yes, this is stemming fromt the fact that I am sure I didn't pass that damn math class but it also stems from many, many other things that I have come to realize over the past few years.
I was one of those kids who was told they were unusually smart from a very young age. I guess I was a little bit precocious. I started reading relatively early and was pretty articulate. Factor into the equation the fact that I didn' t go to school in the best area (read: I was always somewhere at the top of the academic ladder) and you can see why I thought so highly of myself. At any time I could look around and honestly think that I really did have something on (most of) the people around me. As a result, I had very high expectations for myself and did not take kindly to failure. I remember how, during my sophomore year, I thought I was going to fail chemistry (I have no idea how I got that idea into my head because in retrospect there was no way I could have failed that class). For two days straight I would come home from school, lie down on my bed, and proceed to stare at the wall for hours. All this only to find out that I got a B. Anyway, high test scores (I test remarkably well and have passed AP exams I knew nothing about) only fueled my delusions of grandeur. Why the hell my mediocre grades didn't bring me back down to earth is beyond me. In any case, I left high school terribly arrogant. I knew I was arrogant but not that arrogant.
And then came college. Gone were the extreme slackers that helped boost my academic standing (and self-esteem) in high school. Gone were classes that no one failed. Instead, I was surrounded by people much like me and was taking classes where it was actually possible to fail. The first blow to my ego was the bad grade I received in writing. Subsequent blows included my next bad grade in writing and sitting in discussion for my first programming class and discovering that the majority of the people present had programming experience. I was humbled and terrified (remember that, Damon?).
And then I aced all of my intro programming classes. I began to feel invincible. Big mistake.
Long story short, the more classes I took and the more less-than-perfect grades I got, not to mention the fact that my lack of experience was becoming more and more painfully evident, I started to realize that maybe I'm not so special. Maybe the high standards I once held for myself were (*ouch*) unreasonable. In high school I justified my crappy grades by telling myself that I had a lot of stuff on my plate. I worked, I was involved in the youth group at Nishi, I had my koto lessons, band, orchestra, etc. I no longer have that excuse. Not only that, but I can't fathom taking on that much again. Mostly because I know that I wouldn't be able to do it, and I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but that was (and still is) a painful realization that I'm still trying to come to terms with. For a person who judges her worth by how much she does and how well she does it, it's a very big deal.
So here it is: I am not superwoman. Most people (at least in my major) fail at least one class. There is no reason why I'm an exception because I am not better than everyone else. People have failed and lived, and so will I. I can't do everything. There are some things that I am not good at, and that's okay. Not everyone is good at everything. No matter what I do, there is always someone who can do it better. In fact, chances are there are lots of someones who could do it better, and that's okay too.
Sometimes I wonder whether what it is I'm feeling is apathy and pessimism or humility (read: a healthy dose of reality). Maybe I'm just making excuses for my mediocrity?
Whatever the case, I still don't have the balls to look at my math grade. I don't think I'll be able to check until it ceases to become a big deal to me. Maybe at the end of summer.