Friday, December 12, 2014

a mathematical breakthrough

I’ve been studying architecture for almost 7 years, and I still have couple of years to go. It’s taking me so long, mainly, because I changed countries: there was confusing paperwork and I found myself starting the whole thing all over again. It didn’t seem like a bad idea at 20, but nothing ever does at that age.

But I can’t blame it all on that. Let’s see… How should I put it? “Passing all my classes is not my forte”. It shouldn’t surprise me, really, due to my very selective memory. I do this really cool trick in which someone asks me about electricity and I answer with a very honest “why the fuck should I know?” and I got a 9 on a very hard ‘Electricity Installations’ final I took last July. Hell, I don’t even remember the names of most of the people I go to class with. What can I say? I’m a small person with a small head, I won’t waste brain space with nonsense. I can, however (and I’m not proud… but not embarrassed enough to avoid writing it here) sing along every NSync song known to men and I remember perfectly Lance Bass’ birthday*, member from said boy band who I swore to marry one day (I was 11 and he wasn’t openly gay).

I have always consider myself a good student. I’m fairly driven, responsible, organized, and other cool adjectives. I don’t remember my parents really pressuring me, at least not with punishments nor rewards, I guess they just told me that’s how I should be… And there’s that other thing. My primary school had this system in which, if you failed to hand 3 homework in a year, you’d get a detention; they made it sound really scary, believe me. When I was in second or third grade, I didn’t hand my homework twice, can’t remember what it was or why I didn’t hand them. I do remember the third one, it was a sheet of paper with math problems which I DID DO, GODDAMMIT! I just forgot it at home. I don’t know what detention was in your school, but in mine it consisted on going to school in the afternoon and spending an hour in the library doing some extra work, in my case a new sheet of math problems. It turned out it wasn’t as bad as they painted it, the worst part was the humiliation behind it.  Anyway, I was waiting for my mom to pick me up and I saw a big frog. I think I had never seen a frog in my life, I don’t know, but I was very excited. So I told this boy who I didn’t know, but there was no one else around to share such a big discovery with “Hey! Look at that frog!” He proceeded to call his friends and kill it. To this day I still think about that frog and how if I hadn’t gone to detention that day it might still be alive. Or not. I don’t think frogs live that long. But damn, he wouldn’t have died because I didn’t hand my math homework. That day I learned that if I don’t do my work someone might die.

Then I started Architecture, and it wasn’t enough to be “fairly” anything. I had to really set my mind to it, to the point I started wondering if I would sell one of my brothers in exchange for a pass: they are both around the same age and male, do I really NEED two of them? But then I realized people would be too focused on the fact that I sold a sibling, and they wouldn’t congratulate me for passing that really tough class. I have become someone annoyingly organized, responsible and highly dependent on timetables, which look roughly like this:

0900 . work on constructive detail 
1125 . pee
1126 . cry about not knowing how to resolve that constructive detail
1203 . solve hyperstatic structure
1357 . text boyfriend about being able to solve the hyperstatic structure.
14.00 pee again
1401 . cook pasta. Eat pasta. Tell my roommate a funny joke about penises
1516 . try that constructive detail again
1640 . give up
1641 . masturbate

Guess what? It’s time for another little story. This one happened around 5 years after the first one. I failed a physics partial and I cried. I cried really hard, in school, around my classmates. No frog died this time, but I think I was experiencing one of my first panic attacks.

Whatever I was feeling, I’m sure, wasn’t all that different to what I felt when, yesterday, I found out I failed an “evaluable practice” (which is just a collegy way of saying homework). But it’s not just a silly pointless homework (I mean, it is, but it’s not… you know?), it’s from a class I have already failed, and I’m not doing much better on it this second time, no matter how much effort I’m putting into it, and how much help I’ve been seeking. So, even if it barely carries any weight on my final grade, I can’t help but think that there must be something badly wired inside my brain if, after all that work, I can’t manage to get a freaking pass. By the way, no, I didn't cry about it.... At least not in front of my classmates. 

I grew up seeing my name on the Wall of Honor and with kids calling me a nerd. I kept saying it didn’t mean anything, other than that I studied for a larger amount of time. It’s not until now, at 24, that I realize how much of my personality I based on that image. For some people a bad grade it’s just that, a bad grade; for me, a bad grade it’s kind of a “you’re not who you think you are”… And I think that’s funny, in a very tragic way.

*Lance’s birthday is the 4th of May, if you were wondering. I do admit I had to google it, just in case, so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself… A bigger fool, I mean. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Keep plugging away. Good luck.