Tonight’s Maundy Thursday service was a little bizarre, not in and of itself, but because as I looked at the bulletin, I literally started adding () at the end of each header (mentally). This is a strong indication that I rocked today’s practice APCS test, with the exception of the last question on Trees and Binary Expressions, which may prevent me from attaining my preliminary “5”.
I feel like I really did well on that thing, not because I studied (I did a total of 20 part one questions, 10 on two consecutive nights, mostly to get in the APCS “mood”), but because I’ve started getting the rest of my life in order before even thinking about school (yes, a long school performance post is coming). I’ve often wondered why I can’t get a grip this year (even my “I WILL NOT BE LAZY. :)” slogan failed after 5 weeks), when the simple answer came to me that there’s no way I can come close to excelling in matters of the mind, nor the body, when my heart isn’t even in the right place. While every conclusion I’ve come to concerning my performance at school has not been wrong, they’ve been misguided at the core.
Take, for example, my original thought that I was simply overloaded with courses in the midst of a busy life. This was possibly the furthest conclusion from the truth. Why was I doing poorly in Math 11H? I was getting two hours of sleep every night and doing half the homework. I didn’t accept THIS part of the equation until later, when I decided that my problem was sheer laziness. Back to analyzing the former, however. Was I busy? Sure, but the lie I repeated to me teachers about having three hours of homework was certainly overblown. This was a time in which I compulsively manipulated my teachers to gain pity and leniency, but not necessarily intentionally. I twisted the facts just a bit to gain the sympathy I needed to continue being a slacker.
Hindsight, as always, is 20/20, and it’s easy to judge my past acts so unabashedly. Maybe I WAS overworked, but I specifically remember spending half a dozen nights blowing off homework to watch Lost or the Sopranos or some movie. I can’t say with complete confidence that dropping Math 11H was a completely bad decision, but, I think I can say it could have been avoided. There was a definite shock factor at the beginning of the year – I was not prepared to actually work. Freshman and Sophomore years had been absolutely effortless, although my failure to apply myself is highly evident in my Sophomore year – my first F on a progress report (remedied to a B) appeared of all time, as well as my first D. So, this was something that was long overdue to happen, but is not totally the result of what I felt like it should have been. I WANTED to believe I was doing poorly because I was so overworked. I made things a lot harder for myself than they should have been. It’s definitely hard to do complex math at 3:00 in the morning, that’s for sure, so in one sense, I was right. I failed to see the connection between actions in the rest of my life, and consequences in my school life. Which is where I’m heading, here.
My true low point came a little bit after dropping AP Physics. I had justified the drop to a multitude of things – crappy teacher, depression, crappy course, still too much work, you name it. All of it contained a level of truth, just like with Math 11H – as I’m hearing from a lot of the people in there now, it’s only gotten worse in every respect. I was definitely a little depressed somewhere in there. The depression was a circular illness, though. I do poorly in AP Physics, I get depressed, which makes me do more poorly, etc.. The ONLY way to break the cycle, I figured, was to drop the depression factor – AP Physics. It never occurred to me that perhaps my performance in AP Physics was directly related to my constant absence from school, or my increasing failure to do the homework before each test, or my failure to study for the tests. A lot of the latter (homework, studying) can be attributed to frustration with the material when I didn’t understand it immediately. I’m not a patient learner. At all. So, I’d sit down for 10 minutes and stare at the book, and pretty much call it a day. All this, I believe, was the result of chaos in other, more important portions of my life.
I believe the last diagnosis I had, that I was sheerly lazy, was the closest to the truth, but was only treating the symptom. When I look at myself as a whole, my best work is done when I can actually focus on school – not in the “close the door and study for 5 hours” sense, but in the “there are no conflicting situations with friends and family, nor with God”. This isn’t something I’ve thought about for a while, but I realized it when I fell asleep in the middle of communion last Sunday, and subsequently missed the usher passing out the bread. Nobody came and scolded me for it or anything, no weird looks, nothing. I often fall asleep in the middle of church, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. But this was ridiculous.
I started from the beginning, asking questions to get to the source. Why did I fall asleep? I was tired. Did I mean to? No, it was, at the moment of occurance, out of my control. I was tired enough to fall asleep in the middle of the prayer beforehand. Why was I tired, then? Lack of sleep. Why didn’t I sleep? I stayed up late (until 3:00, as per usual). Why? Because I was playing games and watching TV. Why? Because that’s what I wanted to do. I felt like it. It was purposeful.
I realized that when I choose to deny myself something that will enable me to do the simple act of properly worshipping on Sunday morning, I’m choosing myself over God. That, right thurr, is sin. So, this gets down to the problem of me falling asleep in the middle of church. How does this relate to anything?
I have a lot of other unresolved problems with friends, far and wide. Anything from just a lack of communication to miscommunication to discommunication. Probably one of the more haunting failures this year was with the old guy, Mr Dynkin. Although I’d already given me notice that I was leaving, I repeatedly delayed and canceled at the last minute for the last time I was supposed to work for him, he pretty much fired me for being so unreliable. I can blame him and his senility and him trying to make me put on those gigantic pants all I want, but really, that was mine.
That spawned from an overally apathy concerning work and duty in my life. I have a duty to do a lot of things in my life, and I can’t really take that as lightly as I used to. Keeping up with the world isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago, which, I guess, is just part of aging. If I don’t keep up with my duties to the most important things in my life, there’s just no way I can keep up with the lesser things, like school.
Hopefully, by God’s grace I can keep up with the greater elements.