Yesterday I took my second quiz of the semester. I got a 75 percent. Better than the first quiz (50 percent on that one), but still not so good. I really studied for it – I made flash cards and had almost every member of the family quiz me on them. I did all the homework and reviewed each night. The day before the quiz, my son-in-law sat down with me and read off the English words and checked to make sure the characters I wrote matched the ones on the cards he held. I thought I was ready. But I got a C.
Thirty years ago I would have been crying my eyes out. I would have questioned my intelligence and considered dropping the class. My head would be hung in shame and I wouldn’t be able to face my parents. I’d be a failure, unsuitable for intellectual pursuits.
I suppose if I were to look it up I would find a physiological reason why I’m not able to retain these bits of information. I imagine it has something to do with aging. But I’m not worried. I happen to have the luxury of not needing the class or the grade for a degree program, so I don’t have to stress about the bad grades. Yes, I’m still attending class each day, and yes, I’m definitely going to study, but rather than representing the extent of my shortcomings, the quizzes will simply be another form of review.
I’m sure the words and characters will eventually become part of my knowledge base, as long as I keep working at it. My aunts and cousins have begun writing to me, mindful of my limited vocabulary. And I’m able to decipher a lot more. I found some Japanese children’s books my relatives sent long ago and actually figured out a few phrases. I’m making progress! Maybe not at the same speed as the A students, but I’m getting there.
Maybe someday I’ll figure out a way to remember where I put my glasses …