Well, I guess it could be worse…

So, it’s been a bit of a rough week. There was that exam from last Friday coming back to bite me in the ass, the safety quiz in lab that I passed-but-not-really-because-a-B+-does-fuck-all-for-these-people, and then there was a disaster just waiting to happen in one the organizations that I’m a part of. So, without further ado, I’m just going to dig into this heapin’ helping of stuff. A fair warning: there will be bitching and LOTS of it.

So…Biophysical. A course that I needed an override to get into. A class that I swore that I wouldn’t complain about and, y’know what? I’m not complaining. This here is owning up to the fact that my exam accurately and relentlessly reflected the fact that I haven’t been studying for that class. Or at least not studying properly. The difference is clear, at any rate.

Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but it always seems to take at least one piss poor grade to get my ass in gear. I’m sure that’s not what the overachievers do; there were a few As and Bs in that spread after all. But what do they do? Read ahead, probably, or just be generally proactive. I’m not very good at being proactive. Or, to put it more accurately, I’ve never gotten into the habit of being proactive. I tend to react, sometimes violently, sometimes slowly, but always doing something in response to something. Tell me to move and I’ll move. Recommend something and I’ll go off and find it. Give me the grade I deserve for focusing on the math and just running off of my rusty knowledge of general chemistry and I’ll ramp up the studying for next time. I work when there’s some kind of feedback, consequences be damned.

I know I can do well. I have done well so far, somehow kept my GPA above a 3.0 all these years. But I’m no stranger to a failed midterm. You should’ve seen me my freshman year, though. Anything below a C used to freak me the fuck out! But I had to learn something, a lesson that I’m sure many before me have had to realize themselves: I am not the most intelligent person I know. And I’ve slowly come to realize that I don’t want to be. What use is having nothing but theoretical knowledge with no experience? So, if not the most brilliant mind, then I’ll aim for being adaptable, dependable, a bit of a dabbler in all things instead of just focused on one little thing. Yes, this class is important; I need to pass in order to get my degree, for fucks’ sake. But I know where my time went and it clearly didn’t go into studying.

I may complain that time is slipping away, but let’s be honest: I know damn well where it’s going. It tends to go to friends, to meetings, to research. Sometimes, it goes to things that I don’t want to do but I do them anyway because I told someone I’d be there. I go out of my way to meet with someone just to be there for them if they need me, which seems like a waste of time but I’d rather make myself available than not be at all, if only to show that I care about them and their well-being. It goes towards the Internet, it goes towards grocery shopping, and it even goes towards just sitting there, contemplating the world and my place in it. I might be spreading myself too thin when it comes to extra-curricular involvement, but that just means I need to grow a spine and say “No.” Always a problem with me, not being able to say no to people.

Again, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, I failed my first midterm, but I wasn’t the only one. There was enough of us that we changed the damn grading system, so there’s that. Am I satisfied? Hell no! All I can do is be more diligent and prepare for the next not by fussing over the calculus but by focusing on the concepts. The math was hardly difficult anyway, it’s just that I got cocky and figured that whatever I had learned several semesters ago was still fresh in my mind. So, my bad.

Now, to tell the professor that. Why do one-on-one meetings always make me anxious? It’s not that I can’t own up to my mistakes, it’s just that I don’t like seeing someone disappointed in me. There is very little that I don’t want to see more than disappointment. It doesn’t help that I claimed that my lifetime goal was to win a Nobel Prize, too. But, I’ve gotta do it. There’s no excuses for that either.

The safety quiz…well, it was open book. They gave us the manual with all of the answers anyway. And I did pretty well; got an 88%. It’s just that the cutoff was 90%. Or was it 95%? Either way, not good enough. Again, no excuses; just gotta highlight the crap out of the book. Really, a 100% was doable, but it was the first day of lab and I just remember wanting to get the hell out of there and back to my apartment for some me time, so I skimmed the text and just went from there. I have to re-take it, which is fine. I’ll do it. And, really, it’s not a big deal.

But then there’s that possibly implosive situation…

Let me paint you a picture: there are members and then there are officers. Usually, there’s a bit of a divide, a clear indicator that the latter are somehow different from the former, if only in terms of what they can do. Members participate in whatever officers dictate and that’s usually the way of things. I don’t like that very much, so I’m usually the first to suggest to my fellow members of the executive board to bridge that divide, to stop sitting as a cluster and integrate themselves into the member base during general body meetings. I just feel that it looks bad if all of the officers happen to be sitting in one area and, moreover, it helps keep things reasonably loud if there are people who can keep others’ volume down spread around. Why work harder when you can work smarter, right?

So, yeah. The way we work, an “officer” is actually a “member that has an extra meeting per week on the weekends”. And that’s just fine for us, given that our club is casual as hell. But then there are those members… Don’t get me wrong; they’re not horrible, horrible people. They just seem to have this idea that our club is their High School Club, the Redux. We are open to suggestions, we thrive on them. But try to use what we do to somehow relive your glory days, and you are asking for a beatdown. Verbally, of course.

I don’t know. It just irritates me. The others seem to be irritated too, at least, so it’s not just me being a bitch. All we can do about it is attempt to keep the person in check and focused on what we’ve got planned for the semester. If they can add to it, great. If they’ve got ideas that need a little reworking to fit into our finite (and slowly decreasing) budget, that’s okay. But to come out of nowhere with “Let’s go to San Fransisco!” and, what’s more, have no follow-through to get us there or just plain ignore the restrictions we are forced to work under as an organization affiliated with the university? No! It doesn’t work that way! Come back with a better, more realistic proposal.

I’m just bitching now, aren’t I? Again, the ideas are there and that’s what we want. But they have to be somehow feasible, y’know what I mean? If there was a way to ship the entire club to Japan, I’d work towards it vigorously. But for things like going to San Fransisco just to see a show? There’s the logistics involved if everyone’s interested, and what happens if there is no interest? The way this person keeps suggesting things, I’d think that they want to use the club’s purse to fund their excursions, like we’re their sugar daddy or something.

I’m probably the most pissed because I’m the treasurer and I know all too well the hoops we have to leap through in order to get whatever our student body deems “appropriate”. It doesn’t help that I’m always finding myself making a case for things that sound frivolous. “What exactly are the funds going towards?” “A festival, with traditional food and games. Y’know, to educate everyone further in Japanese culture and stuff.” If it sounds trite, that’s because it is, unfortunately. Not to worry; I’m far more eloquent when it comes time to make my case to the Board.

But how is this “implosive”? Well…it just so happens that we’re dealing with someone who wields quite a bit of social capital already. You know those people, who talk to seemingly everyone and have their lips near their ears? It doesn’t help that they’re your average “pretty” type of person, either, as their appeals are just that much more effective. But they’ve got appeal and they know everyone, which can spell trouble if they just so happen to get miffed, say something to the tune of “Well, I didn’t want to be involved anyway”, and just draw people away from our slowly growing club.

That’s the plight of smaller organizations that aren’t bound to one another by letters or rituals: your members are only as permanent as they want to be and there’s not much you can do. So, you work to foster that feeling of family, of togetherness, just to have enough manpower and creativity to get something going. It sucks. It’s even suckier when you have a rogue element like that to attempt to contain without completely setting them off. Just how does one diffuse that situation?


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