Kick in the Pants

Yesterday I wrote about how I was seriously lacking in the motivation department – well, I think I figured out a lot of why that is, and more importantly, what I can do to fix it.

For those unaware, I am an English major. This major has been a very enjoyable journey thus far. It’s been a free pass (or the best possible excuse) to read old literature without the estranged actions and wry eyebrow lifts when, upon being asked what I’m reading, I confess to authors like Steinbeck or Faulkner. However, this is the first semester that I’ve felt like I was back in 9th grade Algebra class going “what. the. hell.” Minus the fact that my 9th grade math teacher was a complete idiot;  but, the same sensation is back – the feeling of “I can’t do this.”

I’m taking a linguistics class and for anyone who has taken a linguistics class, they can vouch for me when I say – “ZOMG! THIS IS REALLY F*ING HARD!” For those who haven’t taken it, I can tell you that it’s been the most overwhelming class I’ve taken since I was introduced to the variable “x” in mathematics when I was in grade school. (Side note: I hate math, if you couldnt tell). This is a whole class on the things that you were never taught how to do, but just learned in order to survive. Conforming to the social norms. You were never taught, “Child! When you see the letter /p/ you’re going to use your two lips, no vocal cords and stop the airflow!” You just learned, by your environment, how to make that noise. Now, almost twenty for years later, I’m having to learn these things. Like, that when you say the letter /b/ it’s a voiced (because you use your vocal cords), bilabial (because you use your two lips), stop (because you physically stop the airflow from your mouth). I’m also learning how to transcribe things phonetically, and what phonemes and allophones are. It’s just – overwhelming. It’s the first time in college that I’ve had a true kick in the pants. This class is hard.

I took the quiz yesterday. I think, I feel like, I bombed the hell out of it. As the class went on after the quiz, Dr. Palmer went through more things like “metathesis, insertion, deletion” etc and I just sat there, blanketed with confusion, and an overwhelming sensation flooded over me – there is a possibility that I may fail this class. He physically saw my frustration as I sat there, trying to make connections to things, and I guess my body language was everything indicative of irritation. So, I composed myself, and I did something I’ve never done before.

I went and talked to Dr. Palmer and openly admitted that I was struggling.

I explained to him how I feel like my head is like a suitcase being packed full of clothes and then, when I try and close it, it won’t shut and everything falls out. I continued on how I would study and read and it was like my brain just said “nope – sorry. No more information is going in here” and just shut off. For the first time in college, I’ve lacked the motivation to do anything simply because its difficult and I’m having a hard time grasping it. I feel like there is someone slowly building a brick wall in front of me and I just can’t get around it. I talked to Dr. Palmer for almost forty minutes and we went over everything – how I was afraid of doing poorly, how I wanted to do well and understand it, but there was just something blocking me off from getting it. He legitimately made me feel better. We went over everything that I was struggling with – how I was just shutting down when I tried studying and he gave me some comforting advise and hope that the class is a building block. He said we would continue reviewing things and that, should I need it, he would be available after class should I need it.

It made me feel a lot better – it made me feel like I could and can get through this class and I think, just someone like him having faith that I could do it was exactly what was needed. It was the motivational kick in the ass that I needed, hopefully, to get myself on a roll for this semester. Finally.

Now, if I just just untangle all the other crap that’s bothering me, I’d be in great shape.

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