So, this week I have been at orientation for school. Every day from 8am to 12pm, I’ve been bombarded with expectations, available resources, best practices, course scheduling, long-lines at the bookstore and fractions. Yes, fractions. I knew that there was some degree of mathematical knowledge involved with nursing, but to be slammed with the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions at 8am on a Monday morning is cruel and unusual punishment.
Now, I’m a Type A personality, an endearing character quirk that has consistently served me in good stead ‘lo these 30 years of mine. Before going back to school for anatomy last year, I invested in a teach-yourself-math workbook. Notice I said “invested in”, as opposed to “opened and used”. Yeah, that joker sat pristine for the past year on a shelf in my closet until about two weeks ago. In the orientation packet, there was one brief line about a math assessment and seriously, I saw my life flash before my eyes. And then I remembered the work-book. So I pulled it out, blew the dust off of the cover and started Chapter 1, Basic Mathematics. Then Season 1 of True Blood came in the mail on Netflix and well. . .here we are.
Math and I have never gotten along. In fact, one of the lowest grades I ever received was in math. In more fact, aside from getting a violation for talking in Chemistry, the only other mark on my school discipline came from my algebra teacher. I had long come to the realization that I had a bad attitude towards math. I didn’t get it, therefore, I didn’t like it, therefore, I chose to just eke out passing grades and deal with it later. Shocking, I know, but truly, I couldn’t stomach it. So, having embraced that mentality, I thought nothing of sticking whatever fiction book I was reading into my algebra book and reading that during class. Of course, the teacher had been calling on me, I hadn’t been paying attention and the charade came crashing down like my test scores over the semester.
How bad did it get? How about in sophomore geometry, when we were learning proofs, I put CPCTC for every answer on a test. Every. Single. Answer. I just looked at those proofs and knew absolutely nothing.
Fast forward to my A&P class first semester last year. My professor was talking about how tough the course was going to be, how the attrition rate was astronomical, and so on and so forth. She then went on to say that if we had a good attitude towards the class, if we acted excited when we opened our books, we’d basically trick our brains into retaining more info because we’ve been telling ourselves that A&P was the shiggity! Can you say, “skeptical”?
That little nugget of info remained with me. This past week, as we’ve continued to work on fractions, percents, and ratios, I’ve tried to get happy about it. I’ve tried positive self-talk. I’ve admitted to myself that while Math and I have agreed to disagree, we will make a truce for the sake of my impending nursing career. I will open up desirable accommodations in my memory bank and decorate it any which way Math wants, so long as the concepts move-in for an extended stay.
As the week draws to a close, I can quite honestly say that I have become quite oriented to what the next 24 months of school will be like. Seeing as I already broke the seal on my 60 pound Concepts of Nursing book, I guess I’ll be staying, fractions and all.