What was the hardest class you took in school (K-12)? Looking back, why do you think it was so difficult for you?
I was a pretty good student and really didn’t have all that much trouble with any of the classes I took through high school. I remember that early on I was very good at handwriting and spelling and would compete regularly with two girls in my class for who was the best. Math and science were always interesting to me and I would apply myself in those subjects the most. I was serious about school and for my entire third grade, if memory serves me correctly on the grade, I finished all my homework assignments in the minutes I had between one class and the next, never taking anything home. The only issue I had in grade school was my fourth-grade teacher, Sister Terrance, who had an issue with the top ten or so children in her class, and that was told to me by my father after a parent-teacher conference. He said to behave but agreed she was a piece of work. In college, I managed a 3.84 GPA, basically five A’s for every B, and nothing less than a B, although it was close in English and music. I’m not saying I’m all that smart, but I did apply myself and did pretty well. But one memory stands out to address the above question. The hardest class was Algebra II in high school. But not the entire class, just one chapter. I was cruising along ahead of schedule and hoped to begin calculus, which looked, and is, really cool. But one chapter took me three months before I could pass the test and move on. I don’t remember exactly what that chapter was about, but I think it had to do with factoring equations. After I squeaked through that, I finished the remainder of Algebra II without an issue. I think this algebra chapter was so difficult because I was trying to remember how to do the work instead of actually learning what I was trying to accomplish. That lesson served me well in college. I would work extra hard, particularly in the first few weeks of a semester, to completely understand the basics of what that class was teaching. Towards the middle of the semester I would ease off a bit as the material added to the stuff I really knew well and by the end of the semester, I was cruising along with good grades and at best needing only a half-decent score on the final exam to get an A. Finals week was the easiest. I would spend an hour or so reviewing details and then relaxing, confident that I knew the material hands-down. My way was 180-degrees opposite of how most people approached a semester, but it worked very well for me.
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