Tag Archives: College

Borrowing Trouble

Last week I was required to take a TSI (Texas Success Initiative) assessment test so that I can begin registering for certain classes come fall. This is just a program/test that determines your skill level in the core areas and helps line a pathway better suited for each individual. It covers the basics with sections in writing, reading and math, totaling almost 200 multiple choice questions and a written essay and you have five hours to complete it in.

Five long hours.

There are worksheets and books out there designed to help you study for these types of things, but I was given exactly 12 hours notice before I was to take the test and that included time needed to make dinner, handle the night time routine with the kids, sleep, wake up and travel to the testing site. Needless to say, studying was not given an opportunity.

Did I mention, five hours of testing WITHOUT prior study.

My apologies, reiteration seemed necessary.

Now I am going to be real honest with you… I hate math. I absolutely detest the numbers and equations and simplicity of something that manages to give me so much grief. Sure, I can add, subtract, calculate percentages in my head – especially when there is a good shoe sale going on – but ask me the square root of anything and I am out of there. Numbers and I, we just don’t really get along, it’s nothing personal.

So when it came time to do the math part of the test, you might be surprised to learn that I truly didn’t sweat it much. I answered to the best of my ability and when all else failed, I any many miny moe’d what I didn’t know. At the end of the day, math is just not my thing and I was alright with whatever my math score was. The worst that was going to happen was me being told that I was not good at math. No big deal.

Out of the three parts, I was most excited about the reading part. Shoot, I can read! Reading is fun. It is an adventure, bring on the reading test!

What had me really panicking was the writing part. I am talking heart palpitations, sweaty palms, eye twitching, it wasn’t pretty. My husband just laughed, informed me to calm down and take a breather because this was not a pass or fail sort of test.

There was a lot of glaring going on at my house after dinner that night.

He didn’t understand. I wasn’t worried about passing or failing really. Sort of. It was more than that.

best-good-enough

I am a writer. I have spent the last ten years of my life with one goal in mind – write. What if this stupid assessment told me that I wasn’t very good at it? Then what? It was too much to handle, too much to consider and I almost called it quits last Wednesday. College just wasn’t for me. Not if it meant taking a stupid test that told me that I didn’t pass a writing assignment.

By morning, I stopped borrowing trouble and remembered something. I am a writer. So what if I didn’t score well, I would just learn to improve whatever I scored low on. That is the great thing about being a writer, there is always room for improvement. A first draft is just that, a first draft. No one expects you to get it right the first time, so do not expect as much from yourself either. Allow yourself room for growth and improvement, and remember… perfection is boring.

Have you ever been in a situation that made you doubt your abilities? If so, share with me in the comments below. 

Till next time,

~AJP

In case you are wondering, I failed the math section by 19 points, but scored a 7 out of 8 on my writing essay! All is right in my world.

 

The Evolution of Writing – A Personal Perspective

It is three decades this month since I graduated college. In some ways, it seems like it all happened a short time ago and in some ways, well, as if it was a whole different lifetime ago.

A former colleague of mine and I were talking about this earlier this week, but not just to idly reminisce. We focused on how the art of writing has changed just during these last few decades.

As a senior in college, the standard writing tool for a formal paper back in the 80s was still the typewriter, which had been around, even at that time, for 120 or so years. However, I thought I was something special in college, because as a lowly student, I had access to an IBM Selectric, electric typewriter and its moving ball. But, even that seems like ancient technology now.

For me, it was the next year, 1986, when all of technology seemed to change. That was the year I began using the Macintosh Plus and I considered myself ahead of the curve, being one of the first people I knew to buy one. I even forked out $800 for a simple, black and white laser writer. It was all such a marvel!

Aside from not having to struggle with the messy eraser or correction paper, I could do all sorts of formatting with my Mac, of which we take for granted today. The printed pages all looked so clean and professional, even for an amateur, like me. Of course, today, printing articles and stories with a professional look is common place. But, back then, just 30 years ago, I felt like it was a bright new world had been opened. Although I did try, I could not envision back then how much word processing would progress 10, 20 and 30 years later.

Of course, today, computers do so much more than word processing. For instance, who could foresee back then the arrival of the internet and that touch screen technology would move past science fiction within my life time. But, here we are, not that many years later, and touch screens magically seem to be yet another futuristic technology that is common place.

For someone who felt they had been a head of the computer curve early on, I now feel, today, like I am lagging behind with just a laptop. Sometimes, I’m amazed I managed to switch from a desktop at all, which happened, already, nearly 10 years ago. Does anyone even use desktops anymore?

As technologically lagging as I may be in these brave years of advanced gadgets – without an IPad or Tablet – I know a couple of people who have never even discovered a desktop, laptop or cell phone. I mention this because I don’t think it’s just an age thing – and they are older than I am – but a state of mind and a desire to engage socially and culturally through our life-changing apps and internet with the world.

We have, indeed, progressed so far in so few years that I hope I can find my way and time at some point to at least try to catch up closer to the leading edge of this thrilling curve.