Last weekend, I was ready to bang my head against the wall. It was Saturday, and I was trying my hardest to work ahead and study for a Tuesday test. Who knew it was possible to study before the last minute? So I'm diligently working my way through the review material and things are going fine until I meet problem number 4 in chapter 5. Solving this problem requires use of a concept I have seen before, so I quickly work the problem to arrive at ... the wrong answer. I think I know what went wrong, so I erase like crazy and try again. And again. And AGAIN. Seriously? Still wrong?!!?
I find myself in a resentful state of mind: if I'm going to spend my Saturday night doing homework, it would be nice if I at least accomplish something. Because I can think of a LOT of other things I would rather be doing.
After several failed attempts with no greater insight into the cause of the wrong answer, I give up. I turn to something that calms my mind and helps me relax: I spend time creating. This is a dangerous alternative, as anyone who creates anything knows, because creating something wonderful can be difficult. The desired effect can be elusive. But I risk it because I just can't deal with my calculator anymore. Luckily, odds were in favor of success in this pursuit: I decided to make some homemade greeting cards, and I was already in possession of some fabulous raw materials.
There is satisfaction in overcoming a challenge and arriving at that "aha" moment when everything comes together. There is intrinsic reward in working hard. But sometimes, I crave more immediate success. Sometimes I need to accomplish something without relying on the resources within every last brain cell. Sometimes, it's nice to start something you know you can finish well.
I didn't get any more homework done on Saturday night, but the cards I made became birthday gifts at our family party on Sunday. Best of all, I went to bed relaxed and satisfied with my accomplishments. Later, a friend from class was able to enlighten me and point out the very basic mistake in my calculations, thereby putting me back on track to being prepared for Tuesday. And the detour wasn't so bad either.
Originally posted at: http://rebeccasmiscellanies.blogspot.com/