I got my most recent math exam grade on Sunday, and I’m sorry to say that I bombed it. Seriously, it comprised the second-worst grade I’ve earned in the whole of my university career: an actual, honest-to-G-d D. I think I did a little worse on one exam in another math class I took, but I also seem to recall that I had a horrible cold or something (and I earned an A- overall in that class).
Your humble Ballet Squid doesn’t do Ds (in fact, I don’t generally do Bs, even).
Last night, I had a long conversation with Denis about how to amend my schedule to allow for more time to work on math. I had been thinking about putting down either the Monday night or the Wednesday night ballet class for the time being, until either I’m really on top of my math class or the semester comes to a complete stop.
Denis’ suggestion was more radical: since there are only about five weeks left in the semester (not counting Finals Week), he suggested that I step back from the evening ballet classes entirely until finals are done.
I resisted, of course: that wasn’t my plan. That wasn’t what I wanted. And, besides, I told him (and myself), my ballet training is important to my long-term career plans.
And then I thought about it a bit more and came to the following conclusion: ballet is, in fact, immensely important to me. It is also, in fact, important to my long-term career plans. However, my grad school application deadline — the thing for which I need to get my ballet really polished — won’t roll around until December, 2015. My graduation deadline at IUS, meanwhile, is May of 2015, and it would be nice to not have to repeat my math class. The prospect of somehow finding myself still whacking away at my undergrad work after this May because of one little math class is depressing beyond measure. Not gonna do it. Not gonna happen.
As it stands, I can still pull my math grade out of the fire, provided that I do well on the remaining hour exam and on the final exam (which accounts for 25% of my grade o.O). Doing so, however, is going to take some work: right now, I have a class average of 76, which is in serious WTF territory if you’re me, but which isn’t irretrievably bad.
This is entirely the result of the impact of the two exams we’ve had so far. Homework and class participation make up only a tiny fraction of the overall grade for this class, so the fact that my homework and in-class work averages are pretty good (high 90s and low 90s, respectively) doesn’t make any real difference.
I feel like a big part of the problem (besides the usual absolute nightmare where error-checking is concerned; you guys, I am the world’s worst error-checker when it comes to my own work, especially math) is that I just plain forget how to do stuff.
I think part of the reason for that is that my current approach to homework amounts to what People Who Know Things call Massed Practice: in short, I sit down and bang out an entire assignment at once, instead of doing a little each day. I’ve been doing this because assignments are due when they’re due and not getting home until 10 PM two nights a week made it hard to do anything else (and while I can write papers and stuff on the bus, I find it difficult to do math homework on the bus, since it requires juggling paper and pencil and calculator).
I know myself well enough to know that massed practice doesn’t work for me. I just somehow failed to grasp that that was exactly what I was doing.
Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I’m going to try Denis’ approach. He suggested that I take advantage of the Friday morning ballet class to try to keep things moving forward ballet-wise; I think that’s a reasonable goal (because of the bus timing, I also wind up losing a lot less time in transit that way).
I don’t think a more relaxed ballet schedule for a few weeks is going to impact my long-term goals. I am a bit more worried that it might, in fact, impact my mood stability. I’m planning to revert to using the bike for more of my homebound commute as a way of compensating (that makes the trip home quicker, anyway), unless my knee starts bothering me again. We’ll see how that goes. If things start to feel unstable, I’ll try adding one evening class back in and see if it sorts things.
So there you have it. As loathe as I am to admit it, I think that Denis has suggested the best plan for the time being. Here’s hoping it will get my math stuff sorted and I won’t have to repeat my math class (which would kind of hose up my plans for next semester, since I’d actually have to go to campus, which would entail commute time, etc.).