Sunday, October 11, 2009

Revelation #1: How I Passed Math

First, before everyone starts wondering why a 55 year old woman has to pass math, I figured I would offer a little background. For many years I had a fairly good position with an expediting agency. We got passports, visas, car registration, etc. for stars and other rich people who either didn't want to go themselves or couldn't go themselves. Some of our customers were Ralph Lauren, James Taylor, Donald Trump, Wall Street you get the picture. For awhile it was a really exciting job to me, and I loved meeting all these people. But one day, things started to change for me, and it wasn't exciting and fun anymore. As a matter of fact, I was just pretty darned unhappy. My life was lacking something. I realized that I had always wanted to help high school I either wanted to be a lawyer or a psychiatrist...but things never seemed to work out as I had planned. I was kidding myself into believing that I was in a 'helping profession' because the people I was working with weren't 'needy', they, in fact, felt as if they were 'entitled'. A big difference and please, don't get me wrong. I am not demeaning any of them in any way. That wasn't my intention. I've worked with some really, really super people and wouldn't trade the experience for anything...but it was time to move on.

Well, as I soon discovered it is not that easy to move on...especially when you are in your late 40's and only armed with a GED. I knew I had to return to school, so I took an entry level position in an agency that worked with mentally ill clients while I went to evening classes to become a substance abuse counselor. Then, once I completed the required course hours, I moved onto another entry level position in a halfway house for recovering alcoholics. The company I worked for also had a parole program, and I was hoping for an opportunity. If you look back at my high school goals, in a way, I would be fulfilling both of them.

I decided that it was time to go back to school for a degree. I chose to get a bachelor's in criminal justice since I wanted to work with parole. But by now, there was no way I was going to sit in a classroom for this degree so I got my credits from correspondence courses and exams. I enrolled in Excellsior College which is an accredited college in New York State, totally off-campass. You amassed your credits and they, in turn, transformed them into a degree. It was the cheapest way, and I tend to learn more when I have to do for myself.

There was one problem, though. I was still expected to fulfill the core requirements of a degree...and that, my friends, included math. Now, may I say that I am 62 years old and went to high school in a small town where all you had to know was adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying...none of this other stuff like algebra, trig, geometry, and logic. Personally, I don't see much sense in all that unless someone wants to go on to science or something. I wouldn't think of using algebra to balance my checkbook. So, what was I to do? Without math, I wouldn't get my degree. I was working full-time and wasn't about to enroll in college for one course which would cost me over $1,000. So, how did I manage to pass.

I enrolled in a correspondence class on basic math which included all of the above and was detailed enough to fulfill my credit requirement. Then, I went online surfing until I found a great math homework help site. I just couldn't seem to get even the way to set up the problems so I would write the problem into this math support group, and some kind soul would help me to set up the problem. Once in awhile someone went all the way and gave me the answer, but that was never my intention because I could figure the problem myself once I learned how to set it up. That was all I wanted. Show be how to do it, and I will do it.

One night, one of the group members yelled at me and said, "I know you want us to do your homework, but that's not what this group is for. Start doing your own homework." Well, everyone else there jumped to my aid. She HAD been rather fresh. To make a long story short, I passed with a 'C'. Not the greatest grade, but I passed with that groups help, something that I will be forever grateful for. I never told them I was old enough to be their grandma. They always thought I was one of them. And
it surely felt good to be a teenager for awhile.

1 comment:

  1. That's great, you got to be a teenager without any of the angst or acne! And how inspiring that you upgraded your education and built a new career in middle-age!