Due to the fact that I have been quite successful in the College of Communications and am well ahead of schedule, I decided it might be a good idea to add a second major that somehow coincided with the courses I have already taken. I added the major of Secondary Education with a focus in English and Communications at the start of this semester and that is when "things took a turn for the worst..."
Since before I knew my multiplication tables, I prided myself on attaining straight A's. I was never forced or pressured by my parents in any way to achieve such high marks, but it was more of a self-driven goal. Throughout middle school and high school, I was able to maintain all A's and I graduated in the top 5% of my class with a GPA of 4.8. While this mindset of having to achieve the best marks put an awful lot of stress on me, I promised that once I entered college I would ease up a bit and settle for B's. Unfortunately, this was not the case. My freshman and sophomore years landed me the Freshman and Sparks Awards due to my achievement of a 4.0 each semester; I continued to pressure myself to do exceptionally well. When professors of 400-level courses announced on the first day that attaining an A in their class was virtually impossible, I became so motivated to defy the odds and surpass their expectations, and I did. Yet after adding a second major, something changed.
There is this educational psychology class that I am required to take as a secondary education major and I think it is going to lead to what I refer to as my demise. There are two sections of the class with a total of about 300 students. My professor said that roughly 20% of the class will fail or drop out before the semester ends. Clearly, she does not play around and her exams are extremely difficult. I understand and appreciate the content yet I cannot manage to score higher than a B. Seeing as the test average is usually a low C, logically it seems like I am doing quite well, but I beg to differ. The class is comprised of three exams and in-class questions worth 100 points. With only one exam left, the highest grade it seems I may be able to achieve is an A-, but that is only if I get a perfect on the final exam, which is highly unlikely.
Last week, as the late drop deadline was approaching, I toiled with the idea of dropping the class, forgetting the second major, graduating on time, and maintaining a 4.0. Then I realized just how foolish that would be. What would I learn from that experience? Let's see...It's ok to quit when things aren't going your way? No. It's a reflection on my extreme lack of ability? No. It's an easy way out? Yes. The truth is, if I graduate with two degrees and Dean's list status, that is actually more impressive and practical than one degree and a 4.0. It does not logically make sense to sacrifice the increased marketability of another major for a higher GPA, does it? Yet as I write these words and speak them aloud, I am still not fully convinced...
This has been a way of life for me. It is embedded in how I see myself. It is difficult for me to simply focus on learning, understanding, and enjoying the experience without a concern for the outcome. I am worried that people will think less of me as I have built this reputation of being an outstanding student. As silly as it may sound, this B that may be coming my way feels like a bullet to the heart because I have worked so hard to maintain all A's. I understand that I need to persevere, but the underlying feelings of disappointment and failure suck so much life out of me.
I think the metaphorical meaning I have constructed around all of this is what is most difficult to handle. Throughout my struggle with eating disorders, my body, moods, and relationships with family members, friends, and boyfriends have been up and down. The one factor that has remained constant in my life through it all has been my grades. As I come across my first B, I am also encountering a low in terms of my illness. Now, the only thing I can truly say that has remained constant for six years is my smile...
I feel that this comes as a sign that it is time to re-prioritize my life and develop a new perspective on what really matters at the end of the day. I may not acquire the award that only a select few seniors attain for maintaining a solid 4.0, but are my employers really going to care that I received a B in my ED PSYCH class? My health and well-being need to be what I view as most important in my life and I hope I return next semester believing that whole-heartedly. For if I have that, I will naturally excel in everything I do because my head will be screwed on correctly and I will see things more clearly and with a sense of sanity.