Friday, September 26, 2008

A plea for help

I don't blog about serious stuff here. I try to make people laugh. I am a teller of stories. Hopefully those stories make you smile. Sometimes they should make you glad they didn't happen to you. Sometimes the stories are supposed to make you tell me how cute my dogs are. Sometimes I want to share the random exciting thing that happens in my life. Sometimes I just want to rant. But I try not to post about politics. (Sometimes I fail.)

Basically, I like to tell stories. I try to keep it lighthearted and sometimes sarcastic. (Though apparently I need to make the sarcasm a little bit more apparent. Hmmm.)

But today I need help. Seriously. Help.

I wasn't going to talk about this, but after commiserating with Ann I thought I would use this blog to A) let her know that she's not alone, and B) seriously see if there's something I haven't thought of to help myself out. I mean, you guys were good with suggestions for Tyson, maybe you can help me with this.

I have met my nemesis, and it is Biology. I have taken two tests and taken two ass beatings with the worst one happening yesterday evening when I left five fill-in-the-blank questions blank on a 35 question exam. The test yesterday followed a test a week prior that also did not go as well as hoped.

Total, I would say that I spent 30 hours studying for both tests. Um, that's on top of the 5 hours of class per week and the 40 hours of work per week. I'm not sure much more studying will fit. I know it's not the amount of studying, but the way you're studying, right? So help me.

Here's what I'm facing. I'm intelligent. I'm a problem solver. For all my difficulties with chemistry, I can handle chemistry. There are problems, I learn the concepts associated, I learn to solve the problems, I do well on the tests (providing I put in my study time.) The bonus to this is that I remember the concepts and can apply them to other situations later on. I learn by doing. By applying. I learned to knit from a website with pictures. I imitated the pictures and got the concept pretty quickly. But I have to DO. I have to apply. You can't tell Emily the college student about the great program that is Microsoft Access and show her examples of how it can be used. She won't get it at all. But put her in a work environment where Microsoft Access is USED, and she's all about using it for process improvements and efficiencies. In fact, if you put her in a NEW job where there is no Access, she can immediately see how much Access could help out and implement it successfully. (true story, btw)

Biology is all about the memorization, and people, I am sucking it up at the memorization. Seriously. I read my biology chapter and it all makes perfect sense. I get it. I'm down wit' dat. I understand the concept of evolution, I understand the concept of classifying organisms into classes and phylums and how they're all related. But ask me the phylum of a spider? Um... An example of a porifera? Um...

And, seriously, I read all of that crap. Not only that, but in my study group we discussed at length how all the concepts tie into each other. I can now recite to you exactly how the life cycle of a protozoa goes. I can tell you how the protozoa that causes malaria is both sexual and asexual. I can apply that. But the name of the phylum that contains that protozoa? Um...

And folks, I read the material. I copied my notes into a different format. In desperation, I typed my notes on the computer. We discuss the concepts out loud when we study. But do I remember what the three structures of a sponge are called? Well, right now I do. (asconoid, sychonoid, and leucanoid) In a fill in the blank test? Not so much. Do I know the phylum that contains the earthworm? Yes. But since it's sheer memorization (and I managed to retain that piece of information) if he asks me to apply it, I'm at a loss.

So... memorization techniques? Ways to help me maximize my study time? Help me! Seriously! With a class where there are concepts to learn and problems to solve, I know how to study. In a world where I have to memorize huge amounts of information (when in real life Google is a girl's best friend) I'm failing, I have no idea how to do better. Seriously - as a student who never had to struggle much with school, I'm starting to get a complex...along with this annoying tic in my left eye. :-)

The next lab exam is over the skeletal system (not just the bones, but the different PARTS of the bones for God's sake.) That's complete memorization. It's not like I can figure out a formula to help me determine the name of the bones he chooses to test us on. Seriously. HELP ME! I beg you. Casey and Blue beg you. Help save their mom's sanity....


Cathy said...

Anatomy coloring books, assembling models, online quizzes, flash cards, study group, tutoring and maybe, just maybe, the problem is the teacher and you need a different teacher.

Tina said...

Back in high school I had to memorize MANY speeches from Shakespeare's plays. I set them all to music (star spangled banner, christmas carols, etc.) which took awhile to prepare but I breezed through those quizzes and even today I can still remember pieces of them. Maybe something like that would help?

Farmerspice said...

Oh NO not the tic!! Um...Memorization is difficult but I do know that we used to make up rhymes for biology. Also we did a lot of work with different techniques. I can still do Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species because King Philip Came over from Germany Saturday. Strange eh? That was also 7th Grade. I can't tell you at all what the planet one is or which planets are where. Go figure. :) Then again that was 3rd Grade. :) Good luck and seriously try and relate it to your day to day activities. You'll get there!

AnnD said...

Man, this was just too close for comfort....thank you for commiserating with me, by the way! I appreciate the thoughts and knowing that I am not alone in my testing drama!

I don't really think there is a way out of rote memorization. If there is, I haven't found it. Honestly, being in the place I'm in now...I think your teacher is a twit for putting you in that position. It seems to me like YOU are doing it the RIGHT way and your teacher is just enough of a douchebag to throw out things that are meaningless and indicate no further understanding than an ability to memorize information (which is NOT what makes a person educated). All I can say is that take comfort in the fact that you are smarter than that professor and probably most of the students in that class. The important thing (especially when it comes to freakin' BIOLOGY) is UNDERSTANDING processes and how things happen...NOT the phylum (sp?) that a spider is in!!! That is SOOO not important in the real world context and people who think it is can kiss both sides of my ass!