I quit. Again.
I’m a 28-year old college student in a college algebra class with 18-year olds who talk about beer bongs and late nights, while I avoid a nap and dread another talk about log functions. Someone stop the insanity! I think for a moment that maybe I should join the insanity, but memories from my high school partying days make my stomach turn and I’m quick to change my mind.
My Chicago Cubs-loving professor handed me last week’s test grade. A 57%. I quickly reminded myself how grateful I am that he doesn’t use the red marker to overrun the page with a big fat F. That allows me to have some dignity. I hold the tears back because my pride refuses to let others see me fall into tear-stained oblivion.
Flashbacks of the previous days’ blood, sweat, and tears put into studying fill my mind—the blood from slamming my knee into the corner of the coffee table after getting up to take a bathroom break from my six-hour study session, the sweat from the hot flashes that are happening way too early in life, and the tears from asking God, “Why am I doing this again?” (I’m still waiting for that answer.)
I am a writer. I put words together that are supposed to help others. Most of the time I selfishly write them to help myself.
I don’t care about Sir Isaac Newton being one of the greatest mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers to ever live. I don’t care that Albert Einstein, in the midst of his madness, invented e=mc2. I am not remotely interested in the fact that “y” is on the vertical axis and “x” is on the horizontal axis. If I have to figure out why the graph opens up versus down one more time I may just scream. Hey, maybe I’m actually absorbing some of this stuff…I don’t know whether to be excited or scared.
The next day I get an email from my professor offering hope that I can still keep my head above water this semester and also the game time for the Cardinals versus Cubs game. I’m banking on the fact that us both being Cubs fans will somehow make up for the lack of remembering the difference between a natural and exponential log.
I continuously remind myself that this is just a phase in my life. Someday it will be over. Will I look back and laugh at the tears and bruised knee? The jury’s still out on that.
That second job you have to make ends meet is just a phase in your life.
Stopping every 40 miles to pour water on your radiator on that road trip is only a phase.
Your checkbook won’t always be in the red. It’s only a phase.
This too shall pass.
Next week I’ll quit again. I’ll probably cry. I’ll stare at my algebra book with the same hate we stare at the candy bar wrapper after we’ve stuffed our emotions with a Snickers bar.
Then I’ll get over it, pick up my book, walk into class, listen to stories of last weekend’s beer fest, and stare at the white board until my eyes cross.
This too shall pass.
*Photo credit: Paulius Peciura