Fear…That *&%^@ Dirty Bastard

I’m rapidly discovering that heading back to college means I’m going to have to face just about every fear I have.


I fear and loathe math. I’ve never been any good at it and I’m pretty sure that the only reason I passed high school geometry was because my teacher felt sorry for me. I memorized all the postulates and theorems but I never understood when and how to apply them. I went to the help sessions one night a week, I called the Homework Hotline, I asked for help.  I REALLY tried but I never understood it. Mr. S knew that and I think he only passed me to show mercy.

I don’t even try to do math anymore. I use my kids. “Jacob, tell me which one is the better bargain.”

I know. It’s embarrassing.

Somehow I knew deep down that I couldn’t continue on this way forever and my day of reckoning is close at hand. Math is required towards my degree and since I’m so bad at it, I’m looking at taking THREE math classes in order to get my math requirement completed. I don’t know enough to take the entry-level class so I need to take what my friend’s daughter calls “stupid math”.

Poetry is another one I fear. I’ve never read poetry and avoided it as well. It’s so much WORK to figure out what the poet is saying! The “whittled fantasies of wooden cages”…what the heck does THAT mean? I just assumed I was too dumb to get it and moved on.

I’m taking a Poetry Writing class that starts in two weeks. Another requirement towards my English degree.

Music is another hurdle. I need a Fine Arts class and my college adviser suggested an online Music Appreciation class with the promise it would be “fun”. I love listening to music and played the clarinet many moons ago but to be honest…band was more of a social thing for me. There are loads of things about music that I never learned for a variety of reasons. I didn’t try very hard either and assumed I was too dumb to get it…like time signatures and meters for example. Maybe because it relates to math a bit?

The Music Appreciation class was crammed into a three-week “mini mester” session that concluded today. Every single day of this class made my brain hurt. But I’m really happy that I’m at the Finish Line and didn’t quit. I learned a lot but this class quite literally gave me nightmares and dominated my waking moments.

Then there’s the lack of approval and support from those I hoped I could rely on. In the past, if I didn’t have 100% approval from everyone around me, I’d quit. It gnaws at me that I don’t have approval from some key people in my life. How much stock do I put into their opinion?

And then…there’s the fear of failure. What if I can’t do this? I have this fear of completely tanking and wasting money.

I’ve wanted my Bachelor’s degree in English since I was 12 years old. I’ve had to ask myself some pretty hard questions since I’ve enrolled, applied for Pell Grants, purchased books and taken my first class.

How badly do I want this?

Am I going to listen to those who think this is a bad idea?

Am I going to quit when it gets hard? Because it WILL get hard.

Fear wasn’t part of my thought process when I decided to head down this road but it sure didn’t take long for it to show up. Now I have to decide whether or not I’m going to let it stop me from accomplishing a dream; I have to decide daily.

The only way to conquer this bastard is to turn around, look it in the eye and not blink.

2 thoughts on “Fear…That *&%^@ Dirty Bastard

  1. I started at the beginning too Vikki…made it through algebra I & II (math for liberal arts was easier!) and the dreaded science classes, and though Biology was hard I learned a lot and had a great Professor. I was so excited to dissect a brain, an eyeball and a heart at my age. I wasn’t afraid because I was learning and knew I’d likely never have this opportunity again. I took a semester long Poetry class hoping I would learn an appreciation for it…it’s not my chosen genre but then again…I’ve discovered poets I did like. I’m excited for you and your journey. The ones who learn the most are the ones who appreciate the journey and are excited by adventure.

    Age sometimes is a benefit. I have worked my A** off to be taken seriously and have treated college like a job. (I do not go to class in my jammies or slippers and try to dress like professors, of which I have been confused for several times at Ambrose) I found I was good at school and after over 4 years my gpa is a cumulative 3.8, my son is healthy and doing well and I’m getting married in May. God has opened sooo many doors for me to be able to do this as a single mom and He has at times found it necessary to humble me…I mean I’m taking French II….but I love it. (I tell people college at my age is a great way to ward off Alzheimers!)

    (Sorry this is so long, but I am so passionate about education)
    Your enthusiasm will take you far. Enjoy the adventure…and good luck!

  2. When people ask you about the meanings of poems, tell them that you follow the theory of the great Robert Browning – ““When that poem was written, two people knew what it meant – GSod and Robert Browning. And now God only knows what it means.” Then you don’t have to answer, AND you look crazy-smart with your ability to quote dead poets. 🙂 Of course, this only works once. But maybe it will make such an impression you won’t have to do it again.

    You’ve got this. Spin around, stare that punk in the eye and never blink.

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