A few months ago, I posted about the anti-climactic end to my first semester of classes. Well, despite having taken two more classes since then, I have clearly not learned anything important.
During the second summer semester, which is hyper-condensed into a six-week balls-to-the-wall reading-and-writing-fest, I took a class called “Literary and Intellectual Traditions: Reinventing and Retelling.” (One thing I have learned about college is that they fucking LOVE subtitles there.) It was a super-cool class about novels being adapted to films, and we talked about literary analysis and film analysis, read Pride and Prejudice and Dracula, and then watched movies based on them. It was a blast, and since it was a 390-level class, it was actually challenging.
I knew it would be tough a few days before class even started when the professor emailed the syllabus. 10 is the top grade on assignments, it said. This is very, very hard to get. Oh, is that a challenge!? Well, you are ON, Professor Tough-Grader! There were 7 assignments in all, and I managed to get 10s on 3 of them. I also got two 9.5s and two 9s. Ohhhh, yeah. I got just 2 points off the final paper for an A+. That’s right, I WIN. SUCK IT, BELL CURVE!
Just kidding. There was no bell curve. If there was, I surely would have had an A+ in the class, but . . . I didn’t. I didn’t get an A+. I just had a normal, lonely A. Wahhh, poor me, I only got an A, I can hear you snarking. I don’t blame you. I’m a total asshole, I know. I’m totally not writing this to brag. (Mmhmm, you say.) Here’s why I’m writing it:
In case you missed it, here it is again:
I CRIED BECAUSE I ONLY GOT AN A IN A HARD CLASS.
I’m not just an asshole, I’m a completely insufferable asshole! And here’s the worst part: A+ doesn’t even matter. My GPA is exactly the same if I get an A or an A+.
While I was trying really hard not to cry, because logically I know how completely ridiculous it is to cry over that, and I know how many Children Not Left Behind would gladly take my plus-less A’s off my hands, I did a lot of thinking about why in the hell I was upset. What I found is this: With the end of each class, I’m upset because I’m not the best. The professor doesn’t tell me I’m the best student he/she has ever had. The grades aren’t posted so I can see whether I have the highest grade in the class. Talent scouts aren’t offering me million-dollar writing contracts (is that how that works?). No matter how well I do, I’m just another student, running the slow and painful marathon toward the end-cookie of a degree . . . the marathon where everybody wins. Or at least everybody who doesn’t die or drop out to take that sweet job at Best Buy along the way. And I don’t want to be a winner. I want to be the winner.
I don’t know why. I’m that way in every aspect of my life. (That particular trait is a bitch when it comes to my marriage, by the way.) I don’t just want to be good at things, I want to be the best. And I can’t. AND THAT’S OKAY. My brain knows how ridiculous all this is, but the rest of me refuses to listen to its perfectly-reasoned arguments against sobbing like an infant because I’m not getting Best Ever Achievement awards for everything I do.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to post the solution to said Personality Flaw, but so far I’ve had lots of introspection and lots of therapy and not a lot of headway. So, it’s up to you, then, to share this post until it gets 40,000,000,000 hits and makes me Winner of the Internet. So that I don’t cry. IT’S ALL ON YOU NOW.