16 September 2009

When easy is simple and vice versa.

I had a George Costanza moment this morning.

Remember that Seinfeld episode arc where George decided that since his instincts always steered him wrong, he'd do the opposite of what he thought was the right thing to do, and in the process he revolutionized his life for the better? While I'm not quite ready to always choose my second guess, I was reminded of this classic piece of pop culture as I took a look over my current classes and grades therein.

I have done exceptionally well (as in "an A if the semester ended today") in Financial Accounting, Principles of Statistics, and Core Humanities 202 (though in that last one I've yet to have to turn in a paper, thereby leaving what my professor will think of my writing style as an open question.) I am doing mediocre at best in Intro to Information Systems and Nutrition 121, pulling a B average in both classes thus far. This is exactly the opposite of how I expected the semester to go, as I figured to have to mash my brain into whipped potatoes to wrap my head around the complex stuff central to my major (and the humanities, historically my weakest subject in education days past) while treating a simple science and an even simpler computer class as an exercise in simplicity.

As it turned out, after eleven years away from the subject I have taken to mathematics like a duck to water and I am finding accounting and statistics, while viciously punishing in the application and diligence in work habits, to be even stronger subjects than I could ever have thought possible. I have a 99.89% average in accounting (having missed only one answer on a homework problem out of almost a thousand thus far) and am so far pitching a perfect game in statistics (itself statistically unlikely!) I am overjoyed at my success (due in no small part to the fact that success in these courses is a reflection of my likely grade-point average once my core requirements are done).

As for the other courses, the "simple" courses where I'm underperforming by my own standards? Discovering that fine-grained technical detail in non-mathematical subjects is not my strong suit shouldn't have come to me with as much of a surprise as it did. While I am hardly resigned to the 3.6 GPA I find myself with at present, it is a bit disheartening if only as a blow to my ego.

The irony? When I took nine credits in a single summer session, I did so explicitly with a mind toward making myself think "this is going to be difficult." The relative ease with which I pulled my 4.0 in that summer session coupled with two months to rest on my laurels as a summer break seems to have had the opposite effect on my psyche, but nothing has restored the original intent of my June workload quite like my earlygame results here! December 10th (the last day of fall semester) is still a long way off, and it's going to take every bit of my intellect, skill, and mental discipline to even draw suitably close to my summer success.

Mind you, I'm still coming into this with a mind toward setting a minimum standard for myself of a B+ (3.3) overall grade-point average, but if trying my best involves setting my standard higher and accepting the grade come what may, I can't just think "OK, I'm on a 3.6, that's good enough." With that in mind, I've got a LOT of work to do tonight and tomorrow!

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