On Midterms and Overcoming Limitations

It’s that time of the semester… midterms! Only this semester my three midterms were spread out into three separate weeks. I was grateful for this because I could not have handled having more than one of my midterms in the same week without spontaneously combusting. So far I have taken two midterms and received those two grades.

Let’s start with the good news! I made a 100% on my International Tourism midterm! I am excited about this because I love getting A’s but there are a few things that kind of stifle my enthusiasm… First, it is an elective course and therefore is not super important. Second, it’s a 4000G level class which means it’s basically an undergraduate course where the only extra requirement for graduate students is that we write 5 more pages on our final paper. Third, it was short answer essay questions and the teacher did not comment on any of my answers. This makes me think that she just generically handed out 100’s to the people who wrote a lot.

Now, the bad news… I got a 68% on my Finance midterm. Surprise, surprise. Fortunately for me, my teacher does not believe in predetermined letter grade constraints so the grade may not be as bad as it seems. However, the mean score of the class was like 81% and the median was 85%. So, when I compare myself to my classmates, I didn’t do so hot.

So of course on the drive home from school tonight I was once again questioning whether I really belong in the MBA program. Overall, I’ve probably actually been interested in about 15% of the material we’ve covered in all of the classes I’ve been in combined. What’s worse, is that I have probably only retained about 10% of what I’ve “learned” over the past year! It’s discouraging to do poorly and even more discouraging to realize that I am neither learning and nor do I care about the subjects. I tell myself that I am simply getting this degree to show that I am well rounded. After all, my Bachelors degree is a Bachelors of arts in International Studies with only  a concentration in Business. So, my expectations are that the MBA will show a future employer that I have achieved for myself a solid understanding in Business courses as well as experience in managing cultural diversity and the international aspects of my undergraduate degree.

The reality is that I did not expect to feel so… stupid. The more courses I take, the more I realize my limited capacity for understanding quantitative analyses, and that there are so many things that I simply do not know. I’ve never made so many bad grades in my life!

What gives me hope is that I totally bombed my first Advanced Accounting Analysis test, with like a 50%, as well as my Managerial Economics midterm… and I wound up with As in both of those courses because I was forced to face my weaknesses and to overcome them by spending my free time hunched over the computer, exhausted, and my body filled with caffeine and sugar.

I was hoping that this semester would be different, and that I could move confidently into the second half of the semester knowing that I have what it takes to achieve the B that I need in my Finance course. Instead, once again, I sit wondering how in the world am I ever going to make myself understand the concepts of Finance that seem more foreign to me than any foreign language or culture.

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