This morning, the big portfolio project was due for this semester.
I’ve been dreading this thing all semester…. not because it’s that hard, but because it’s a lot of writing.
Not that I generally mind writing… however, this instructor grades very heavy on form.
As in, one of the other students went to the english writing lab, used their tutoring service to have one of the nuns who works there go through and help him correct all of his grammar and other issues, and still got his papers back covered in red pen. When he mentioned having had help, she just told him not to go there again.
Last semester, it was worth 6 percentage points of our grade… and I only got 3 of the points. Literally, 50% of the points lost, not because I didn’t do it, or didn’t put in effort… but because of things like run on sentences… and a place where I put “that that” instead of something like “which this particular”.
Obviously, even if this is the first entry of mine that you’ve ever read, grammar and word choice and sentence form are not my strong points by any means. Even when I’m trying hard to correct them for a more formal paper, i’m just not going to catch them all. My grades in english classes have always been all over the place, based more on whether or not the teacher was a stickler or where they put more weight on the actual content of the papers.
Well, this semester, instead of being 6%, it’s 20%.
In a class where 80% is the lowest that you can get and still pass… and in a class that failing automatically removes you from the program, no matter what grade you have in the other classes. (Right now, 2 A’s and a high B)
And in a class where 30% of the grade is based on 2 surprise hands on tests… the same type that fluster me even when I know about them… and so my grade on the one that has happened so far was an 86%… meaning I’m already 4% down for the class with the high weighting.
And, in a class where a lot of the rest of the grade is entirely subjective… and where the teacher tends to grade hard and is known for making students cry. And the extra frustrating part is that the other two instructors are not this way… both of them gave full credit to basically everyone last semester.
And so, I’ve started over and over on several different parts of this portfolio…. but still… it doesn’t ever feel like its ever going to be anywhere near good enough. I can just see it getting ripped to shreds, and the more and more I tried to fix things, the more and more I just felt like it was hopeless.
And so, as I sat at the library, fussing over things over and over until almost 11 last night… I just felt like curling up in a ball and crying.
Eventually, I sort of settled that it was as good as I could get… and hit to print the entire folder on my usb drive… picked the stack up from the printer, and headed home feeling beaten down.
Given the mood, I decided to set the alarm and get everything punched and sorted and into my folder this morning. So I set my alarm for 5:30… basically 5 hours of sleep… and 2 hours before it was due.
And so, in the morning, I discovered that the last two items that I had been working on somehow hadn’t gotten saved back onto my usb drive.
And so, hadn’t gotten printed when I clicked to print the whole folder, and were not on it for me to try printing on my poorly working printer at home.
I was in tears as I threw on clothes and rushed out to the library, which I thought opened at 6.
I found instead that it opened at 8.. half an hour after the portfolio was due.
I was really glad I didn’t have breakfast, as the stress hit my stomach bad enough that I found myself getting sick in the parking lot.
Basically, I had three choices…
- Toss out something really quickly at home, with no time to fix anything and no certainty that my printer would work well enough to be readable.
- Turn in the portfolio without the items
- Wait until the library opened, print the items, and turn in the portfolio late.
Option 2 would have been certain failure, because one part was worth 6 percentage points for the class, and the other was worth 2. 8 percent of the class grade lost on top of the 4 lost from the surprise exam would give me only 8 more points to be able to be lost on anything before being dropped from the program.
Option 3 would lose me three points for being late. Still not good, but a bit less bad.
Option 1… I seriously considered. Actually, I started to try, before my stomach vetoed. Unfortunately, tossing out 8 percent worth of material in an hour would have probably gotten me slammed a lot worse that the loss from option 2.
And so I turned it in late.. pretty much feeling like I was sealing my doom.
And pretty much feeling like no matter how much effort I put into it, and how much I try, and how much I pray, and how much I freak out about it… my grades aren’t going to reflect the effort. Instead, they will just reflect that I’m not perfect no matter how much I wish I could pull off pretending that I could be.
Actually, nobody in our section of the class has gotten a perfect grade on any of the checkoffs.
And so, I’m feeling like there’s about a 50% chance of my still being in the program next semester.
Not because I know that material any less than the people in the other sections… or that I’m not putting in the effort.
But just because.
And so I don’t really feel like there’s anything that I can do about it… or much that I really could have done. Yes, I should have printed the portfolio earlier, but then, I was doing the best that I could to make it as perfect as I could with the time that I had.
Who knows how much it will matter.