Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How Far?

"How far can I go without turning back..?" It was the question Yuta Takemoto often asked himself during the series. It's a question I find myself pondering at this hour of the night.

There's no question as to what I want anymore, I love UoS, and yes I am fully aware of the fact that they have limited choices in regards to majors offered and the registration office and processes/procedures can be hectic and irritating little pains in the ass but despite that I still love the place and it's where I want to be right now - putting aside talk of Canada. Last summer I started feeling irritated and doubtful about my major, English, it was never something I had in mind to study and it was just a spur of the moment choice at the time the university application was placed in front of me. When I was 13 I had made up my mind that I had wanted to study Computer Science. As I got older that aspiration matured into wanting to study IT. That was my dream. I love computers and everything that pertains to them so that sounded like the most amazing thing. Somewhere down the road though, I got hooked on and obsessed with Psychology. It completely captured my heart and desires. Forgotten was IT, replaced by this new intriguing prospect. Sure it wouldn't have been as flashy or sophisticated sounding as a career in IT but hey Psychology would help me understand why the world is going to hell and ppl seem to be ok with that. While I was taking my sweet time finishing HS I began to realize that Psychology isn't exactly a major that is offered here - least not in the universities I wanted to go to and if the university had it, it was only as a minor and not major. I wasn't sure what I was going to do then but I knew I definitely wasn't doing a distance degree (online university). I contemplated the idea of going to Canada but truth is I really love UAE and feel a sorta "homesickness" when I leave (when I visited my sister in Kuwait for only 2 weeks I could think of nothing more than how much I missed my cat, Jassim, and UAE). Then one summer, BW gave me an anime to watch. She said it was interesting and from what she described of it, it sounded as such. It was the same Honey & Clover I mentioned at the beginning of this post. If you didn't follow the link and you haven't seen it before, it was about some students in an art university. I found the student who was majoring in Interior Design to be very interesting. I was drooling over his internship at an Interior Design company and from that point on I decided since Interior Design is a major that is readily available in almost all the universities here that was what I'd go for.

I'm not going to get into why I chose UoS but it was a major turn off to learn that the Fine Arts College there is Co-ed so I knew I certainly wasn't going to do Interior Design there. I had already made up my mind though that I was going to study in UoS so now it was only to decide what to study. UoS certainly didn't have Psychology nor did it have my first love, IT, as majors. What I saw when I opened the uni catalog to make my final decision was Computer Science. The study plan played a major role in the major I finally settled on, which was English - reason being it was the only major in the whole book that didn't require a single math course. Of course with a prospect like that I dived in head first without a moment's thought. The registration lady told me I had to write down two choices, so English went as my first and Computer Science as my second choice.

So you see, English was never something I had planned to study, wasn't anywhere on my wish list. Then going through a pretty boring semester of foundation courses and then finding out we didn't get internships in the English Dept. (Heck that was one of the reasons I wanted to GO to uni rather than do a boring correspondence university degree.) I scanned the university catalog over and over last summer after my first semester. I considered Visual Media from the Communications College and then Public Administration from the Business College but both turned out to be in all arabic. I kept going back to Computer Science, but the math was really no joke. Then I had a bright idea, and thought about architectural engineer. They probably get really interesting internships and then have interesting jobs later. Again MATH. I resigned myself to the fate of English after that and promised I'd have to go study Psychology elsewhere to make up for the boring English major. (I'd come back here every holiday I got and after graduating I'd have definitely come straight back here.)

Last semester there turned out to be a shortage in classes we could take (I was late registering and there wasn't really much left to choose from) so myself and two of my classmates went searching for courses we could take as free electives from the other colleges. One of them found a course called Intro. to MIS. So we all signed up for it.

I only got to attend 2 or 3 of the classes before I was called by the registration for a "violation". The registar lady told me since I hadn't taken Intro. to IT in my first semester I'd have to take it then and I had to drop Intro. to MIS because IT was a prerequisite for the MIS course. I was really upset. Even though I had only taken 2 or 3 classes I had already fallen deeply in love with it. Everything happens for a reason though... I was looking in the uni catalog to find a replacement course for the Intro to MIS that I had to drop and I saw that MIS was a major in the Business College. Freakin' AMAZING. I was imagining how interesting that must be to have it as a Major - just imagine the internships they must get?! I went immediately to the registar and asked her if I could change my major and what were the procedures. She told me I was too late and would have to wait till the following semester. I was bummed at first, then I realized there were like 7 math courses in the study plan for MIS majors. I thought and thought about that fact. Till this sudden impulse yelled "Screw it! Face your fears" One of my classmates said something similar to that and encouraged me not to let something like math hold me back from doing something I'd enjoy. I made up my mind I was going to go for it. Then during the semester I had serious doubts and wasn't sure what I wanted anymore, and as always I have BW to thank for being the voice of reason when my reasoning is being unreasonable. By the end of the semester I was 180% sure that I wanted to go thru with changing my major to MIS and that I wasn't going to let the fact that it had math courses in it keep me from it.

I was totally psyched about it and even got the text book for the first math course I'd be required to take. All my classmates laughed at me. I tried explaining to them that I brought the book so I could at least study it from then until the following semester, this way I'd have a headstart and would at least have some clue as to what I was supposed to be doing. Of course they didn't understand that. No one understands how far down below average my mathematical skills are. Last semester I opened the book once, read 2 paragraphs, shut the book and dropped it under a pile of junk - that's how frustrated I was with how much I understood from it, which was zilch. Despite that, I changed my major anywayz - a decision, I, in no way, shape or form, regret.

I promised myself I'd study really hard and pass math and if it turned out to be really hard - well, I'd just study harder. BW offered to help me when she can and I admit I was reluctant at first to accept that offer. All the previous times I had help with math or tutors for it they'd explain and explain and explain and no matter how hard I tried to follow I could never keep up. The last thing I wanted was to have her wasting her time trying to help me with the impossible when the end result was always the same; me feeling extremely dumb and supremely frustrated. I began to wonder - and even then it wasn't so much wondering as I was sure that I wasn't "normal" when it came down to math and that maybe there was a form of dyslexia that worked in the numbers department rather than the usual literary one it beseiged.

The first math class I attended, the teacher called on me to answer something that was on the board. It was a simple single digit answer I had to give. I got it wrong (of course) and I'm guessing my answer was so far off that everyone (They all turned around to see who gave that answer) was wondering if I was truly and seriously that stupid or just trying to be funny.
Then the first night I showed BW what it was I had to study, she went over it with me and explained it all to me in the simplest of terms and as I had feared; nothing sank in. I went home, opened the book and not long afterwards, closed it. I couldn't make sense of anything.
The second time she sat with me, I was so ready to call it off and contemplated dropping the math course all together.. Ha, she must have sensed that somehow cuz the things she said that night were enough to light a fire under me and get me motivated enough to really put my everything into trying to understand math.
By the third and fourth times I was surprised to find that little things were starting to sink in. Things I had never understood before and were now beginning to make some sort of logical sense. For that I have to thank both, BW and a (former) classmate of mine who sometimes helps me in the car on our way to uni in the mornings. That improvement, though I bet it was really small, in comparison to what I should know, felt huge to me and it was more than enough to make me feel like I actually wanted to put more effort into understanding the concepts. I started spending my breaks between classes solving equations. At first more were wrong than were right but the more carefully I worked the closer to correct my answers became until I started coming up with correct answers on first tries. I started practicing solving equations before going to bed every night and then one night it was way after 2am and I was tired but felt reluctant to go to bed. It was like the reluctance to stop when you're in the middle of watching an interesting show/movie/anime or playing a vid game and are on a high level... I was ACTUALLY "enjoying" solving equations - and not just solving but ending up with the CORRECT answers for the first time in a very long time.
That was two weeks ago - or maybe 3 by now. Last week I had become so totally obsessed with practicing and solving equations that I kept the book and blank papers beside my bed and equations were the last thing I looked at before I slept and the first thing I touched in the morning. There was only one problem; I was getting the right answers and all BUT it was taking me 40+ mins for each equation. The time we are allowed for the midterms is only 50mins and there was no way in hell that the midterm would only have one question on it so I was doomed, I thought. All my hard work for abso-freakin-lutely NOTHING. Give up I had, though shameful to admit.. BW told me to practice while timing myself and my prob would be solved. I did nothing that day but solve and note times and it worked! I felt confident almost to the point of being cocky and was actually looking forward to the exam. Scoring 3/4s of whatever mark the midterm was out of would have made my semester (though I wouldn't want that for any of my other subjects - that would be an amazing score for me in math.)
Gosh, I've gone on quite a bit haven't I? I'm trying hard not to rant, but those of you who know me probably have already guessed I am really upset at the moment. Does it still count as a "rant" if you are trying to keep it under control and not just write whatever angry thoughts come to mind???
Maybe I should just stop here and go to bed, it's already after 2am and the cursed math class is at bloody 8 in the morning...


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Katheria said...

Practicing and timing yourself on equations will help! I think it's great that you are constantly practicing. I wish my "certain others" will follow this example instead of complaining all day...