Redefining my standards of success

I have a Calculus test in the morning, for which I should probably be doing some last minute studying, but at this point I mostly feel like I’ve already crammed everything into my head that is likely to stick. And I’m afraid that “everything likely to stick” isn’t going to be enough.

For those that didn’t already know this about me, I am a straight A student. I only had 1 B in high school, and 2 Bs during my first undergrad, and I wasn’t happy about those at all. I expect to go into a class, master the subject and come away with top scores, and I have a tendency to think less of myself if I make anything other than an A. It can’t be healthy to constantly place such high expectations on myself, and Calculus II is making me think I need to redefine those expectations.

On more than one occasion this semester I have broken down in tears while doing my Cal homework because I just don’t understand it. One particularly shameful evening, I yelled at the cat when she walked across my homework, then yelled at Ben when he pointed out how irrational I was being, then tearfully apologized and melted into a pile of “I’m so stupid” self loathing. I think it’s some combination of really hard examples in the book we’re using, a professor that goes pretty fast, the fact that it’s been 7 or 8 years since I took a Trigonometry class, and the basic fact that Cal II is a high level math class.

Ben still has his copy of the old Cal textbook, which is orders of magnitude easier to understand than the one we use now, and he has graciously let me borrow it. I sat down and did about 50 example problems from his book, and I feel better about my grasp of the basic concepts, but I’m still worried about this test. The first test with any professor I haven’t taken before always makes me a little extra anxious- once I know what to expect on exams I have a better idea how and what to study.

From past experience I also know that I have a tendency to under estimate how I performed on an exam. For example, I had my first Chemistry test last week and left the test upset about it, when it turns out I made an A. Hopefully this test will work out similarly. *fingers crossed*

As I was freaking out about this test to Ben earlier, he gave me some good advice. I need to put into perspective that I’ve already accomplished a lot. The fact that I’ve made it to Cal II speaks to my ability to learn things and do well in class. And if I make less than an A on this test, it won’t be the end of the world. Success can still come packaged in less than perfect scores, and I need to stop basing my self worth on constantly achieving perfection.

~~~~~~~~~

Somewhat related:

As you might have noticed from that rambling mess of test anxiety, my anxiety hasn’t been so well controlled here lately. I’m still taking the buspirone 20 mg twice daily, but I feel as though it isn’t helping much anymore. I wonder if it means the buspirone is ineffective, or if maybe I’ve become tolerant. I also recently switched birth controls- now taking Gianvi- the generic for Yaz- and I’ve noticed all around higher emotional responses to everything. (I cried in my car the other day while listening to a sad story on the radio, which is very out of the norm for me, as is yelling at the cat and Ben over some frustrating homework.) In reading online about other people’s reactions to Gianvi, I’ve found several reports that it made them anxious, which can’t be a good sign for someone like me who is already predisposed to anxiety.

I think it’s time to adjust/change what meds I’m taking, but I’m not sure which med is my problem. I’m considering asking my doc to switch me from the buspirone to an SSRI, since I’ve been feeling sad a lot lately too, but if it’s the birth control making me sad maybe changing that would fix the issue. So, if anyone has experience with birth control having emotional side effects, or anyone has experience with anxiety meds that helped, I would love to hear about it!

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About Essential Everyday Pineapple

Crazy cat lady extraordinaire, liberal, atheist, feminist, vegetarian, engineering student with an art degree. Essential Everyday Pineapple is just a phrase from a random word generator that had a nice ring to it. What? Blog names are tough.
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4 Responses to Redefining my standards of success

  1. Anonymous says:

    I personally have never had problems with my birth control but I know three people who have had problems with Yaz. They all said it made them hyper-emotional and they couldn’t control it. I know you said you were taking the generic form but I would look into switching your BC.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m taking Ortho-cyclen something or another and I have no problems with it. I used to be on the depo-provera shot and it made me a complete emotional wreck, so I just recommend that you skip that trial.

  3. Pingback: An Anxiety Update | Essential Everyday Pineapple

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