Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who I Am

This has got to be the most unprepared that I've ever been for a semester of school since I re-started. I mean, I was heading to campus at 5:15pm for a class at 6:00pm and suddenly realized that I had not purchased an updated parking permit.

Needless to say, I was a bit late getting to class.

Once in class, I was pleasantly surprised by the charisma and outlook of my professor for Organic Chemistry II. If I manage to pull an A in this class, as opposed to the C+ last semester, we'll all know it's completely based on the teacher. (Of course, if I pull another C+ then we'll just forget we ever had this conversation...)

One of the first things my professor handed out was a list of questions and a request that we write a paragraph or two about ourselves. He wants to get to know us. I was thrilled! And completely uncomprehending when I heard the scattered groans from other students around the room.

Let me backtrack a little. Last summer when I started getting together materials for my application to vet school (before I delayed it by a year) I realized that I needed academic letters of recommendation. I knew I would need letters of recommendation from someone I work with (check!) a veterinarian (check!) but I did not realize I would need one from an academic source as well. Bummer. One of the reasons why I chose the smaller school where I completed my undergrad studies was the smaller class size. I knew all of my professors. Of course that was....ahem....over ten years ago. As my mother delicately put it, "You're not even sure if any of them are still alive." This time around, the class sizes are much larger, my schedule doesn't generally allow for me to visit professors during office hours, and I'm pretty self sufficient with any questions I might have anyway (read: I send emails.) So relationships with my professors are scarce. No matter, I just had to make friends with a professor, right?

Here's where the roadblock popped up. Um, I can't. I get ridiculously anxious and freaked out when I have to speak to a professor and either come across as a bumbling idiot, or a complete flake who has to cut the conversation short lest she burst into tears from the stress. Yes, it really is that bad. No melodrama. Ask z who has had to talk me down off of ledges after several such disasters. On second thought, don't. It's incredibly embarrassing.

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out what the problem was. I mean, I'm personable. I'm friendly. People tend to like me. Being a pretty strong extrovert, I have an overflow of personality on most occasions. I can make friends (or at least conversation) with almost anyone. If I like you, I can have a pretty endearing charisma. (If I don't, well, it's...different.) But after thinking about it for a while, I came to two determinations. 1) It's really difficult for me to ask for something (especially something I can't do on my own.) 2) It's really REALLY difficult for me to ask for something that means a lot to me. Therein lies the problem. Becoming a vet means a lot to me.

There's my soul bared for everyone to see.

Still, I'm stubborn persistent. Even though I had a mild massive heart attack every time I did it, I continued to visit my physics professor (by far my favorite professor I've had) over and over until at one point I got enough of my personality through to make him laugh. (During the first visits, I'm pretty sure he thought I was mildly mentally handicapped. But I made a strong finish at the end when I made a quantum physics joke. Sweet.) So all I had to do was ask for the letter.

Yeah, the semester is over and I still haven't asked. Sigh.

So when my ochem II professor asked us to write about ourselves? For a narcissistic blogger like myself? A way to make myself stand out without having to leave my comfort zone?! DONE! Are you sure you want only two paragraphs? Because I can write pages if you want! Pages that will make you laugh, cry, and want to give me an A immediately. After all, answering questions like:

Are you from Indiana?
What are you studying?
What has been your experience with chemistry classes at IUPUI so far?
What are your goals once you complete your degree?

Easy peasy! So why the groans? Especially since the professor seemed pretty easygoing. He said two paragraphs, but he also said that we could just answer the questions with one word if we wanted to (as if!) Or write more if we felt like it. I was so confused. Until I looked over at my neighbor and saw that he was already working on the assignment. Next to the first question, in tiny precise lettering, he had written "yes." And next to the second question, in the same perfect letters, he had written "pre-med."

And it was then that I realized that this personality thing? It might be a rarer commodity than I originally thought. And maybe, just maybe, it will be my saving grace in this quest. At the very least, maybe it will get me the coveted letter of recommendation? Let's all cross our fingers.

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