The day I got a “B”

As many of you know I have tried to be a bit more positive this semester when it comes to library school and just about everything else. It was all going so well too….until…..

I got a B on my first paper of the semester. What? I mean I know that when I turned it in I realized that I had not a whole lot of clue of what I was writing but still. Needless to say I was pretty darn disappointed. Especially because I was now afraid that my professor, who for some reason I’m crazy nervous around, thought I was stupid and a bad writer.
Now I know I’m not stupid but going back to school has definitely made me question my writing abilities, actually all of my abilities! When I had to write my first paper last semester I thought I was going to have a huge anxiety attack. I was soooooo nervous. Just couldn’t believe I had to write papers after over six years of not writing them. And even in undergrad it’s not like the business program had you pumping out papers left and right. But I got through last semester thinking I was an ok writer. Just not something I really excelled at. However, every time I had to write a paper last semester or this is has really weighed on me….
So of course what I should have done is looked at the grade, been disappointed, and then moved on. Especially because I realize that the reason I took the class is that I really enjoy the details of cataloging itself, not necessarily the whooplah that is written about it. If that makes any sense. But did I move on? No, of course not. I proceeded to be in a funk for the rest of the class and cry my whole way home. Why? Because of course I had now convinced myself that I was stupid, that I couldn’t handle grad school, that I should have never left my job, that my professor thought I was a moron, that I’d never get a job when I graduated, etc. All because of a B grade on a paper that is worth 5% of my grade. Hmmmm.
My question from all of this is, “Why doesn’t anyone prepare you for how completely humbling and frustrating graduate school is?” Does anyone know??? People keep telling me how brave it was of me to leave my job and to go back to school. But I never really thought that was the case. But more and more I’m thinking that it wasn’t necessarily brave but that it was a much bigger change than I ever expected. I mean you go from working in the world, having some idea of what you’re doing, and then, BLAMO, you’re back to square one trying to figure out what happened! As soon as I think I’ve made it up the hill a bit more I just slide a little back down. I used to think my job was slightly thankless but this whole graduate school thing is much more humbling for lack of another word. And this is especially the case when you’ve changed your whole career path.
I think there should be a support group for graduate students. Ha. Especially for ones that have been out in the real world for a bit and thought they had finally gotten the hang of that and now this?! Plus, don’t forget, you are paying for this awesome feeling of humility! And you’re going to be paying for it for a very long time. And hopefully you’ll have a job when you’re done with the program! Don’t even get me started on everything that I feel I’m lacking in order to be qualified for a position come summer 2011.
So what do you do? Well, you take a few breaths, you remember that it’s all one step at a time, that you’re doing the best you can do, and maybe you try to get it out with a badly put together blog!
But finally you remind yourself of what really matters. This was done quite clearly for me when my dad called me tonight to tell me that my aunt’s cancer has come back. That’s the reality that is worth tears, that is the reality that humbles, that is the reality that reminds me of what is important in life. Definitely not a B on an article review of cataloging articles.
That’s all for tonight…thanks for listening…

3 responses to “The day I got a “B”

  1. OMG… I die. This is pretty much how I feel. Almost everyone is my program is a few years younger than I am, and some of them are straight out of undergrad (a lot of them live in the dorms). I don’t think anyone else works. The professors are completely contemptuous of students and each other. And I cannot get the hang of essay writing again. And here I have my own apartment, a boyfriend, and a life totally separate from school… one day I started feeling bad because I haven’t made any FRIENDS at school, then I realized I have nothing in common with the other students. It’s hard!

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