Monday, March 1, 2010


I feel sufficiently stupid today. It's not a pleasant feeling.

And really, nobody in their right mind likes to feel stupid. It's just something that happens, usually (hopefully) through no fault of our own devices. It's a crappy place to be, really, because your self-esteem and self-worth drops right through the floor. I'm not even going to attempt to say that I am impervious to this sensation because that would be a flat-out lie, and I try to do this thing where I don't lie to myself, or to others. (See previous post for the defining characteristic of this Sagittarius being that she has foot-in-mouth syndrome almost every time she says something.)

The reason that I feel stupid? Microsoft Excel.

I can do numerous things in Word. Mostly, I use it to type, and occasionally, before I had a crash-course in Microsoft Publisher during my sophomore year of high school in an advertising and marketing class (Never. Again.) used it to do some pretty cool things by way of making posters and other things of that nature.

Excel? I'm about as clueless as they come and I'm not ashamed to admit it. There just hasn't been that much need for me to know how to use the little squares and things, and do calculations, and other stuff, and yeah, I'm going to say that I have no idea what I'm doing.

At this point in my life, I have stumbled, bumbled, bumped, jumped, and BS-ed my way through enough of Excel for me to make some graphs, do some tables, and understand a little about calculating things in there. I understand that the Econ department is a regular slave to the Excel gods, but do I look like an Economist to you? Nope. Probably because I don't have the patience to sit there and number-crunch all damn day. Which isn't saying that that's all that Economists do, but it's a fair share of it, to some degree. They have to - My Two Cities professor (the Economist) gets absolutely giddy over mass amounts of numbers.

I don't have an issue with numbers, but trying to format them into Excel is driving me up. The. Freaking. Wall.

And worse, it's making me feel stupid. Not to mention frustrated as hell. Especially because my hunch is that a majority of my lab grade - especially in Chemistry - is dependent on this information and the analysis provided by a damn computer program, and how well I can operate it.

Granted, I'm better now than I was say, this morning, but it's still a long way from where I need to be. I feel behind and incompetent, and I am really not a fan of feeling this way.

So, Louise. Get off your duff and get some help with this. Learn this.

And, oh inner critic of mine, would you suggest that I find the time to devote to learning the wonders of Microsoft Excel? Maybe between the time that I come back from teaching and then going to class, while I eat my breakfast? Or maybe when I'm just sitting around on my rear end because I don't have anything else to do. I've got plenty of time on my hands, right? Plenty of time and space to play with? Sure. And that's why I want to fall asleep halfway through my first lecture before my caffeine has a chance to kick in, isn't it? Why when I leave the room in the morning I don't have a chance to come back until at least after 5 on good days, and not until 11 on bad ones. Or ones more stuffed than usually.

That explosion right there is frustration, pure and simple. I feel better for having just unloaded that. Is the inadequate feeling still hanging around? Yeah, but it's a little muted now. Is there some hope in the picture? Always. And just by looking at what I've managed to accomplish with the physics lab in the time that I've spent, knowing sort of what I'm doing? That's better. And when you're struggling with something, better is really all that you can hope for, in some cases, and what you strive for in others.

Life is lived by experiences, and with experience comes knowledge. So, in my case, you gotta screw up and fall flat a couple of times before you learn to balance. Until the next curve comes and then you readjust. And you go along and keep readjusting, and wait until you think you've figured something out, and then wham - You're flat on your ass looking up. Then the cycle starts over again.

Once you understand this you're golden.
"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz