Breaking Under Pressure, But Winning in the End

breaking under pressureFrom the moment I first popped into this world, I have never been able to deal very well with time-induced pressure, or normal pressure for that matter.

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.

calculus Breaking Under PressureAfter 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.

stressed out lady Breaking Under PressureThe reason I decided to highlight this unfortunate ‘breaking under pressure‘ quality of mine, was because I was reminded of it tonight as I sat in front of a blank Word document.

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??

Breaking Under Pressure, But Winning in the End

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  1. I could do a lot better on tests too, if I were able to somehow stop worrying about the time constraints. I’m going to try worrying less on tests I take in the future and see if it helps.

  2. I too have a love/hate relationship with pressure. I do seem to get more accomplished when I have a set time to do it in, whether it’s cleaning or writing! Great post as always!!
    Kathy Radigan recently posted..L is for LizzyMy Profile

    • That’s such a good way of describing it lol…its a love/hate, but sometimes it feels like a hate/hate. I get so much more done when I deadline to meet…if I’m not always doing something or working towards a deadline I get sidetracked!

  3. First, let me say, I think it’s wonderful that you wrote this post and acknowledged your fear of timed tests and blog pressure. Professor Yin may have been a terrific teacher but he would have scared the bejesus out of me. I barely got through Algebra and that was only by the skin of my teeth. I used to feel the pressure to post on a schedule, but I have decided to let it go and post when I feel I have something to say. Great post, Nate!
    Annie recently posted..The Wet Spot DiariesMy Profile

    • He was definitely a good teacher, but Calculus and I just didn’t seem to get along lol. I love your ideology when it comes to new posts lol…it’s been a week since I last posted, but that’s mostly because I’ve been too lazy/busy. Life happens and I’ve learned not to fret too much about not posting. I plan on posting tonight though..we’ll see!

  4. Calculus?? Heck no! I would have made much lower than a B! Loved the video at the end haha. That song always reminds me of Ice Ice Baby haha

  5. What exactly were or are you majoring in that you have to take calculus? I’m not a math aficionado which is why I ask. But good post, considering the pressure you felt you were under to deliver. Well said. I was feeling your pain, more or less.
    monicastangledweb recently posted..The Cavalier King Writes AgainMy Profile

    • Business! Marketing actually, but all business majors had to take Cal 1 & 2 or another equivalent. So you took Calculus and enjoyed it??? I like math, but only when I know what I’m doing!

  6. I don’t think you’re alone in this fear.. and before I go on, let me tell you I was sweating as I read the post. I recall my tango with Statistics. I’m sure we had different professors, but they had to be related give your description. Math and me, me and math, not such good pals. As much as I hated it, I confess I continue to fall back on those classes. I build software now – and surprising at it sounds–I employ all those horrid little equations I so loathed. I bow to your strength to take your fear head on. There is something about ‘putting it out there’ that renders a fear immobile.
    Brenda recently posted..The Whiter Shade Of PaleMy Profile

    • Oh gosh…I don’t know which is worse Statistics, or Calculus…I didn’t enjoy either! I honestly cannot tell you how shocked I am when I look back at all the math I put myself through…I never imagined I would have to do so much! You build software?? That’s so awesome!

  7. Just the mention of the word “calculus” and I break into hives! Seriously, though I tutor students for the SAT/ACT tests and often play “therapist” by addressing their stress and fear of tests. Also as an actress (former?) I know from nervousness (performances, auditions, oy vey!).

  8. Nate, I suffer from your same malady, but like you, find that pressure, timed or otherwise serves as one of the best motivators. Not always, mind you, but definitely for things like completing a task or taking Roxy out before she pees on the carpet. hee hee! My hat comes off to you for getting through Calculus. I almost failed Basic Math, a requisite in my time for any major. I’m definitely glad those times are behind me! Great post! :)

  9. I remeber that summer….you were a lil stressed out mess :) Love you Natey!

  10. I don’t know what I just read. Something about Calculus and 80’s music….
    Bridget recently posted..The Upside Of A DeploymentMy Profile

  11. The moral of the story Nate, you actually ARE good under pressure. You did well on the test, and you wrote a great post many can relate too! As for me, journalism major here – I wouldn’t last 10 minutes in a calculus class! Take care,

    • I honestly regret NOT doing journalism…I obviously would have been much happier since I love writing. I’m glad you liked it…I’m going to your site now :)

  12. I have the same thing, and I used to have to just study like crazy, and memorize everything, so that I could overcome my nerves during a test. The worst for me were history classes, because they wanted all of these essays in 50 minutes with so many details.

    P.S. Didn’t Vanilla Ice get in big trouble for copying this song? Still love the 80’s ;0
    Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club recently posted..Fit & Fabulous!…Week 11 of An Online Brutally Honest Fitness Journal: Why Do Cheetos Taste So Good?My Profile

  13. Joha Biswas says:

    Excellent post and some great discussion points in the comments to go through!
    for more information


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