How do you handle breaking under pressure?
Unfortunately, for me, no life would be complete if it didn’t regularly involve many forms of pressure.
To be more specific, I’ll give you an example of what I mean and hopefully paint a vivid picture of how I despise time-induced pressure above all.
The summer after my sophomore year of college, I had to enroll into a 6-week (everyday for three hours) Calculus class instructed by a man named Professor Yin.
Nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but that’s only because you’d typically have no idea what he was talking about through his heavy Chinese accent. He didn’t believe in breaking under pressure; he was the pressure doing the breaking.
One of the few things my fellow classmates and I did understand was when he’d yell about how, in China, the students study Calculus from sunrise to sunset. We’d get this lecture anytime we’d complain, or question the abnormal amount of homework given to us, that would always be due the following day.
He was by no means an easy professor and I’m completely certain he saw us as lazy American students…which probably wasn’t too far from the truth. However, the worst thing about the class, in my opinion, was that all of our tests and quizzes were strictly timed.
After bombing the first test and realizing how quickly 60 minutes goes by when working Calculus problems, I pretended to be Chinese and began practicing Calculus from sunrise to sunset…at least the week we had a test I did.
I completed all of the required homework and was even able to help explain them to my fellow students who were in my study group.
When the day of the second test came, a friend of mine (who was in the class and my study group) asked me why I was so nervous about the test since I knew how to work most of the problems.
I explained my fear of timed tests and that regardless of how well I knew the material; I was still consumed with nervous thoughts. She didn’t understand this because of how I was able to help her with the homework problems and strongly assured me that I would do just fine. I ended up getting 15 points less than the other kids in my study group–who I ‘tutored’ the testing material to not a day earlier.
This annoying trend continued and was solely due to my irrational fear of timed tests and the pressure that came with them. However, when we got our final grades back, I was perfectly happy with the “B” that I received in the class…even though the rest of the kids in my group all got A’s.
As I was staring at the blank screen in front of me, I was bombarded by thoughts of how many days it’s been since I last posted and that ever-familiar voice of pressure began to whisper in my ear that the clock was ticking.
I had no idea what to write, was running out of time and, as each second past, it got harder and harder to concentrate. Once I realized how ridiculous I was being by pressuring myself to the point of not being able to think–let alone write–I decided to do something about it.
I did what any resourceful writer would do and came up with the solution to write about the very thing that was hindering me from writing in the first place, which was pressure and my abhorrence of it…if you somehow missed that.
Unless you were dropped on your head multiple times as a child, you’ve probably been able to visualize the vivid picture I mentioned I was going to paint about how I dislike breaking under pressure.
Unfortunately, I’m about the contradict myself and confuse the Easter eggs out of you by saying this; even though I’m not the best at dealing with pressure, I’m glad that it exists. Sure, I freak myself out when taking timed tests, or when I worry about not finishing a post by a given deadline, but without all that pressure; I’d probably fail all my tests and never finish a single post.
If I didn’t feel the intense pressure when taking my Calculus exams, I wouldn’t have worried about them and, if I didn’t worry; I wouldn’t have studied so extensively, which would result in me receiving a much lower grade (or even failing).
Perhaps breaking under pressure isn’t something to be proud of, but it apparently works for me, because it teaches me how to fight back. After all, I passed my Calculus class and finished writing the post you’re currently reading, or were reading, to be exact–considering that it’s over now.
P.S. Who doesn’t love odd music videos from the 80s??