(Warning. This is just meant to state how things were, not to sound cocky. I know it might come off that way and that is not my intention.)
Okay so here's the thing.
Grade school? Piece of cake. I graduated 6th in my class despite the fact that I was pretty much never there. I did the minimal amount of reading library books required, barely read textbooks, and never studied for anything. Ever. I got two Cs in high school, one because I didn't read enough library books to get my "points" for 10th grade English and the other was .6 from being a B and was in my senior year when I didn't have a single healthy day ever...and was an AP class. So like really, it was easy.
College? I had to work, but the assignments were easy. I was always one of the smartest people in class, usually THE smartest, and never once worried about getting less than a B by the time a semester was up. There were very few textbooks that I had a hard time understanding, and it wasn't until senior year that I really ever stressed about understanding material. Professors always loved my writings (save for one awful English professor) so I never worried about comments on my technique or style. Once I got past the initial first-week panic, the only stress I had was really honestly centered around time-management (and that was my own fault).
Grad school? This is a totally different world. Now, I have classrooms full of people who are at least as smart as I am, if not smarter. Several of them have multiple master's degrees already. The work is miles above anything I've ever done requiring work and effort I'm not used to needing to put in. It's a complete shock to my system and is scaring the crap out of me.
I got my first response paper back for my History class today. I got a check minus (that's the system they're graded on, check plus check or check minus). I didn't expect that at all. Apparently I completely misunderstood the directions and wrote a reflection instead of a response paper. It took about 4.7 seconds for me to dial my mom and start crying.
Thankfully she is quite used to my panic attacks over school, so she knew exactly what to say to get me to calm down in about 10-15 minutes. This paper is only 1.5% of my grade, absolutely NOTHING to warrant the freakout I had. But I think it was just the first in-my-face proof that I am in for two years of work way beyond anything I've ever seen. And that's a hard thing to deal with for someone who's never had to truly worry about academic success before. But that doesn't mean I'm not capable of doing this program and doing well. It just means I'm going to have to get used to the major change.
But I can't change the past, can I? So I emailed both the course assistant who grades these and the professor and asked for tips/pointers on how to make my paper a reflection instead of response, and hopefully I can do better for the next one.
Tomorrow is the start of a new week. Let's hope it's better than this past one, because the universe was SO not working in my favor.
And also I am not one of those girls who can cry pretty. Just saying.