And I have a good imagination.

I thought going back to school at 52 would be tough, but I really had no idea.

There were four people out of the 41 in the classroom over age 25. And I was the oldest of the four. One was the instructor. One was an Iraqi vet. The third was another (yet still younger!) single mom. The age thing was a bigger deal than I thought it would be.

Not always a bad thing, though. Most of the students were the age of my older kids and they treated me like their mom. Ya’ll, I acted like their mom: badgering them to do the homework, encouraging them to study for quizzes, cheering them on when they did well on exams. I don’t know if any of that was a “good” thing, it’s just part of my character at this point.

I was unprepared for the sheer number of hours a single elementary algebra course could consume. It was a part-time job. I sincerely tip my hat to everyone who goes back to school while managing a career and marriage/family. I put in at least 25 hours a week on homework and studying for weekly quizzes and exams. It was frustrating and surprisingly fulfilling.

Turns out I enjoy solving quadratic equations. Who knew?

In the end, I had to confront my desire to quit when things get hard. I got very discouraged a week before the (cumulative!) final. I was completely overwhelmed and felt entirely too stupid to manage the class. I really, really wanted to give up. Walk away.

I didn’t. I kept showing up. The physicists of the world have nothing to fear from me, but I got a B+. I’m very proud of that B+ because I worked my ass off for it.

Now I’ve got five weeks off before the next section — Intermediate Algebra — starts. I may not set the mathematical world on fire, but I bet I can pass that class, too.

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