Depression, Angle of

Without even getting into the whole ugly mess of “Asian kids are good at math!” I’m going to say that I recently received a 70% on a Pre-Calculus test. Those that are familiar with PreCalc concepts will know that this:

is an angle of depression. I am neither the hot air balloon nor the bag of money; I am the angle itself, the oft-calculated, exasperated angle of depression fanning out from my initial angle, spreading more and more, but never getting anywhere, because no matter how long the sight line is, the angle is still the same.

Or, in shorter terms, I am angry. As hell.

Hear me out: I’m not looking for consolation, merely a source to vent at. I know that a C won’t break me (even though tests are weighted to measure as 50% of our overall grade, gross), I know that there are ups and downs to everything. Trust me when I say I’m not being a snob about grades. I don’t need anyone to tell me, “But Midori! C’s aren’t failing!” I know that, I know that.

Frankly, I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed because I was pretty damn confident about this test, confident that I knew the concepts well– and then all of a sudden, a goddamn C. It’s humiliating, I think, not so much that I was arrogant, but that I needed to reminder to see my own arrogance. At least Icarus was pure of heart, y’know, sensibility lost in a moment of excitement. I’m just somewhat of a snooty toerag, believing I have something and to screw it up so completely as to get a C.

Okay, yes, I’m blowing it way out of proportion, but the longer I linger on being angry, the more angry I become, and if I’m not angry, I can only be sad, and if I’m sad I only get sadder, so to avoid that I just get angry and more angry and–

So, what really is the purpose of this post? Venting, okay, but also a bonus package deal of moral while you’re here (for just $5.99!). I know this is often said again and again, that you shouldn’t care so much about grades, and honestly, I disagree. But that’s on a case-to-case basis– I personally want to get good grades because for one, I have excellent teachers I feel personally responsible toward, which drives me to work hard in response, and for another, I like to be recognized as good at what others challenge me to do. In the case of this math test, however, let’s take a look at the context:

  • it was one test, worth a lot, sure, but there will be more
  • the teacher does not offer extra credit
  • the teacher does not do test corrections

Given this, even if I do weep and mope about, it wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever, and as much as admitting that makes me bitter, there’s nothing I can do but accept it. And move on. What’s the point of staying upset and upsetting others? Just for the sake of my pride? The best I can do is learn where I made a mistake and reprimand myself to never do it again.

So, it’s not don’t care, but also realize that there’s such thing as caring too much, on irrelevant levels. I’d like to claim that I’m over the test, but evidently I’m still bitter enough to write an entire blogpost about it, so I still need to take my own advice. But hey, I’m trying– I can fault me for ultimately failing the test, but I can’t fault me for trying.

One thought on “Depression, Angle of

  1. Heidi says:

    Oh Midori, I will never forget the day I got a “C” in neuropsychology in graduate school. Up until that point, I had straight A’s (in grad school). And a scholarship. I was embarrassed, humiliated, sad…I never got to the angry part. In my case, though, I was able to spend my entire winter break studying and then re-take the exam. It was a comfort to see one of my classmates there, too, a student whom I never would have guessed to have a “C” in neuropsych. Well, I didn’t lose my scholarship and I wasn’t kicked out of school and I think my teacher still liked me. Of course it didn’t help my ego that one of my classmates who had the stomach flu would periodically slip out to the bathroom to vomit during the exam got an A. In any case, fast forward to the present where I am faced with my poor sixth-grader who is feeling down because he is one of the slowest kids in track. What nugget of parental wisdom do I impart? “Honey, if you always got straight A’s and were always the fastest and the best at everything, how would you have any empathy for others who are struggling?” Of course,
    I also suggested that he could practice running on the weekends.

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