Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Lot of Prayer, A Lot of Faith, An AWESOME Tutor, and Sunflower Seeds

About two weeks ago I took my second to last test in Bio Chemistry.  I failed!  It was as if I went in to take the test and just guessed.  16 out of 50.  However, guessing would've given me 12 out of 50 according to my professor.  That next day, I then received an email from my professor wondering if I was cheating.  Because I have done poorly on all the tests, but have been receiving 10's across the board for my quizzes (that are OPEN BOOK).  It did look fishy, because I will admit; my tutor was always with me when I took the quizzes.  He helped a little by telling me I might want to double check that answer, but mostly he was there to calm me down because I would freak out over the time limit. I may or may not have some sort of test anxiety, but that is a blog post all in its self.  When I read this email from my professor I was immediately shut down.  I saw no hope of passing this class.  The email also stated that if I were to pass the class at all (since I was sitting at a C-) I would have to pull at least, AT LEAST, 32 questions correct out of 60 on the final, just to receive a C in the class.  That Friday as I met with my tutor I had feelings of doubt, and thought all this hard work of studying, and meeting with my tutor every stinking day of my summer vacation for TWO HOURS was a big waste of time, and money - my tutor wasn't for free!  As I left the library Friday evening I was depressed, and worried of what my life was to become.  I had already decided that I was, a. going to be a college drop out, or b. transfer up to Logan and try, TRY to finish my degree up at USU - which wasn't sounding like a bad idea, but I just was so close at SUU I wanted to stay here.  I took the weekend to figure things out.  Friday, I was distraught, Saturday I was mad, and Sunday...well Sunday was a day of mourning.  I cried and cried, and cried some more.  At one point my mascara had ran down both sides of my cheeks making me look like a figure out of a horror film.  It was pretty much embarrassing.  By Monday I was deciding to at least give the next two weeks a try, what would it hurt?

Amongst all the emotions of the weekend I decided to go talk to my Bishop.  I am in a family ward, and feel that my problems are just ity bity, and the Good Lord above knows that a Bishop in a family ward has a lot more bigger fish to fry then my piddily little problem of, "why can't I pass chemistry!"  I sought out my Bishop any way, and asked if I could meet with him after church.  This isn't the first time we have met over this ordeal of chemistry.  Last semester when I was in this class for the third time I met with him too.  So we met, he gave me some great advice and council.  I took it with humility (hence, the tears all stinking day long).  He gave me a blessing, stating that I would get my rest and eat healthy, and that my professor’s heart would be softened when I spoke with him.  Okay, but I wanted to hear the golden words, "you will pass chemistry."  Didn't hear what I wanted, but I decided to keep the faith and trudge forward.  

Later that week I met with my Professor.  I had been nervous upon meeting with him since the "email."  I walked into his office and we visited for about 30 minutes.  Nothing but wisdom and hope came out of his mouth.  He talked to me about passing the class, and that he really believed I could do it.  He told me that all I needed to get was 32 out of 60 correct for a C grade, and that if I could at least (but let's not try for that) get 28 out of 60 it would give me a C-, and my advisor already had told me that she would take it to the head of the department of education and pass me if I ended up with a C-.  (Basically I am down to the wire and it's now or never!)  Just before I left his office my professor (who is not LDS - just saying) asked if I was religious of any sort.  I didn't say anything, kept a straight face and continued to listen, thinking it was rather odd having one of my professors talk to me about God.  He told me that he believed in a "higher power" and that maybe I need to try putting my chemistry woes into that "higher power."  I was kind of dumbfounded.  I'm a religious gal, why didn't I think of that?  I did of course think of it when it was down to the fact I may not pass this class.  Isn't that how we all are though, when it comes down to big decisions, illness, and major woes that is the time we finally turn to God.  That is how I am, sad to say, I need to be more active in going to Him all the time, not just when I am in complete desperation.

I kept moving forward with the tutoring.  During this time I had many dear friends and family come to me with advice and hope.  One friend in particular was my friend Jaime.  Jaime is new to the church, and hasn't been the best at being "active."  She knows I'm pretty faithful to church and all, so she got straightforward with me.  She said I needed to get all "Mormony" and go to the temple, fast, see the Bishop (for another blessing) and pray, pray, pray.  I was shocked, thinking to myself, are you listening to what you are telling me?  The weekend before the last week of school zoomed past me.  I didn't go to the temple, I didn't fast, but I saw my Bishop and prayed, prayed, prayed.  The Bishop gave me more advice on taking the test and telling me that 32 questions correct was very possible.  It wasn't like I was shooting for 60 out 60.  He gave me another blessing lasting about a minute, again saying nothing to the effect of "I will pass chemistry."  So, I kept trudging along with faith.

As Monday came and went I kept feeling that I needed to do what my friend Jaime said to do, go to the temple and fast.  Tuesday after work I asked my boss if I could have Wednesday off so I could "study."  He said I could, so I set off to study, both spiritually, and mentally.  Tuesday night I began my fast.  I hate fasting; it's probably the hardest principle of the gospel for me to live.  Me likes my food, and giving it up for two meals is difficult!  We all know that I should give up more of my food....ya know what I'm say'n!!!  Wednesday morning I struggled out of bed, but kept the goal of the temple in my mind.  It was my Mommy's birthday and I wanted to surprise her with her favorite chocolate peanut butter pie.  I had made it the night before and had planned to get up and go early morning to deliver it.  That didn't happen, and now I know why.  I finally arrived at my parent’s house to drop off the pie.  I wished my Mommy a happy birthday and headed to the temple.  I arrived a little after 12pm and was limited on time so decided I would do some sealing’s since they didn't take all day.  As I was heading to the elevator I see my Mission Presidents wife.  "Well, well.  Fancy seeing you here!" I said.  She gave me a hug and asked what I was doing here on a Wednesday afternoon.  I told her that I was coming to get some spiritual insight of some sort.  She asked (like everyone else who I don't ever see that often) how chemistry was going.  I told her, "That is why I am here - CHEMISTRY!!!"  Her and my Mission President are coordinators in the Temple on Wednesdays from 12-5pm.  I knew they worked there, but it used to be all day Thursdays.  I had no idea I would be running into them; in fact I try to avoid I know to stay away from Wednesdays.  (Rude, I know.  I love them to pieces, dearly love them, but when you are in my shoes, not married, and failing at school they are not really the people I want to run into.)  She rode the elevator with me and just before I got off she said, "Will you come and see Robert and I in our office when you are done?"  "Sure," I say.  I finish up with the sealing’s and head to their office.  They are busy folks coordinating the temple staff, so I sat patiently and waited.  I hadn't eaten and I was starting to feel the effects - my emotions were askew.  They finally shooed everyone out of their office and sat down to talk to me.  I held a good face until my Mission Presidents wife made a statement that made my eyes boil over with tears.  Oh great!  I began to apologize, especially because every time we had "one on one" meetings on my mission, with my Mission President, I would cry.  Let's just say the spirit is really strong with me.  Yes, please think that. ;)  He told me not to apologize as his wife is hugging me.  His wife then asked if he could give me a blessing.  "NO! I don't need another blessing - this is not why I came here." I said.  He said he would be happy to give me a blessing and they found a room and blessed me with peace.  Once again, no words of, "I will pass chemistry."  I hugged them both and left the building.  I drove home in silence, wondering what my future was to be.  I had three days left until the final was to be taken.  I kept seeing my path in front of me, fork in the road sort of speak, which path do I take, which path does the Lord want me to take?  Both things were good things - depending on how I looked at it, but my hearts desire was for the path to finish my degree at SUU.  Passing chemistry was a righteous desire, so why couldn't he grant me this desire of my heart?  I continued to battle with doubt the next three days.  By Thursday afternoon I was full of doubt, so full that I cried some more.  I cried into the night, but with a little bit of faith still left in me I decided to pray.  As I finished praying I decided that if I want the Lord to talk to me I have to open up my scriptures.  I decided to not pick up where I was currently reading and just open the scriptures up.  I opened and the book fell to Ether chapter 4.  I thought this was kind of lame chapter, so I turned back a chapter, to chapter 3.  I read the heading and thought, oh yeah; this is some good stuff here.  I began to read.  By the second verse of Ether chapter 3 I was slapped across the face.  It reads, O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.
 V. 3 Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.
 V. 4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.
 V. 5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

The brother of Jared had been asked to build some sort of boats (barges) - he had no idea of how to go about doing it, but he just did what he knew and left the rest up to the Lord.  I too, at this moment in my life felt a tiny bit like the brother of Jared.  I was told long ago by my Mission President to go to school, the Prophet tells us to go to school, and I just figured I should go to school - not sure why at times I am going to school, but like the brother of Jared I'm just trying to do what the Lord wants me to do and hope that He will provide the rest.  I was ready to just throw in the towel, call it quits, move on, but I took that little bit of faith that was still with me and went to the Lord, like the brother of Jared, and asked Him to show Himself through helping me pass my chemistry class.  The Lord showed Himself to me, not like the brother of Jared, but He showed himself to me by helping me pass my chemistry class.  

This story has a much anticipated happy ending.  I got up Friday morning rejuvenated and ready to take on this final chemistry test.  I went to work, and made sure I kept positive vibes going about passing my test.  My two flower girls I work with were darling, and kept telling me all day that I could do it, and I will pass this test.  At 2:00pm I left work thirty minutes early to meet my tutor for one final tutoring session.  We only met for an hour and just went over random stuff.  He told me I was going to do well and pass – he felt confident I knew the stuff I needed to know for this test.  I kept the confidence and said goodbye. The next hour, before the test, I walked outside on to campus and found a nice shady place to sit and relax.  (I feel like a lot of my problems with test taking are that I study up until the test and that causes me to freak out.  I felt like I knew the material enough and that a break before the test would do a world of good.)  With ten minutes before the test I said one final prayer and made my way to the classroom.  I was completely at peace and calmer then I have ever been.  I found a seat and waited for the test administrator to arrive.  The time had come, and I was ready.  I took the test, doing what my Bishop had told me to do.  I went through and hit all sixty questions, just answering the ones I for certain new.  Then I went back and hit the ones I fairly new.  Lastly I went back and hit the ones I didn’t even have a clue, but tried my best.  When the last few minutes of time were called I looked over my test, arose from my seat and confidently turned in my test.  I left the building feeling positive I had done my best and that is all that mattered.  I drove home, sat by my computer with the email open, waiting for my professor to inform me on the scores of the test.  At 6:12pm on Friday night, August 5, 2011 my professor sent me an email.  It reads,

Hey Liberty,
You did it!  Congratulations!!! You got 32/60, which places you in the 55th percentile nationally, and corresponds to a grade of 77.5% for the final exam. This brings your overall average up to a 72.19%. And it brings your ACS average up to a 72.5%. Based on this level of performance on the final, it is completely reasonable and justified to round this up into the C range.  So, you won't need to worry about getting special permission for a C-.  You earned a straight C!  I am so proud of you.  Way to not give up, and push all the way to the end.  It really paid off.  I hope you developed a better feeling about biochemistry.  It really seems like you did, and I really appreciate your positive attitude. Your change of heart is awesome!  Please also tell Mykel how much I appreciate him working with you this semester.
I am so happy for you!
My Professor

These kept me awake - I am now a professional
Sunflower Seed Eater???  And
Pickle flavor...HEAVENLY!
I have never in my life been more pleased with a C grade.  I will always cherish receiving a C in this Organic Bio Chemistry class.  It taught me more than just chemistry!  It taught me to trust in the Lord, have faith, reminded me that prayer works, gave me the opportunity to have a tutor like Mykel, who is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G – my miracle worker, gave me another reminder that the priesthood also really works, and most importantly that a bag of pickled flavor sunflower seeds keeps a girl like me awake during boring tutor sessions.  (It wasn’t my tutor, It was me and my dislike towards chemistry – it’s boring to me, but I had to learn it!!!)

I know that the last couple of years (ick – can’t believe it’s been years) have been rather rough for me with school, but now I can see all that it has taught me.  This experience will stick with me forever, for all that I have learned has been priceless.  Now I can finally receive that “piece of paper” as we are calling it these days.  Two semesters left and graduation May 2012…FINALLY!!! 

Finally I can graduate.  


Lucashell said...

Congrats.. I am so happy for you...

Miss Jessie said...

I sat down and read it from start to finish and cried, but that really isn't a surprise. I knew you could do it and I'm so proud of you. I'm also excited that we will be able to walk together at graduation next May. You proved all the people wrong who thought I was going to graduate before you ;) Only one more year Libby and then you'll have a bachelors and you'll be able to leave SUU and Utah for good. I think now that we know that you're going to be graduating next May that we should start saving and planning for our graduation trip to Europe. Might as well have one last exciting trip before entering into the "real" world. See what faith and positive thinking, and the prayers of many, can do for you. You're awesome Libby and I hope that you never forget that!

Sproatmeal said...

Wow. That is such a cool experience. It's so interesting how the Lord teaches us all the same lessons but in different ways. For one person it's the quest to pass chemistry. For someone else it's dealing with chronic illness. Doesn't matter what it is, but we all have certain lessons to learn, and the Lord figures out the best way for us to learn them. I could really relate to the things you said even though I haven't had the same issue to deal with. Especially the embarrassing crying...! I'm so proud of you for turning this into such an amazing experience! I'm sure you don't want to ever do it again but probably are glad you went through it. So cool. Thank you for sharing your experience!

Linda Liebhardt said...

Oh, Libby! You did it! I'm so happy for you. I will miss checking out study rooms to you for your impossibly long tutoring sessions, but I'm sure you will NOT miss the library. [and I have the same crying problem that YOU do!!]

MinDee said...

CONGRATULATIONS LIBBY!!!!!!!!!! I am sooo proud of you!! What an amazing story. you better save this to share with your kids some day. you should send it into the ensign under the young adult section. WAY TO GO!!! and i'm serious about the ensign comment, don't be rollin' those eyes.