by Lisa

Today, I sent off my final paper for a class on sociology research methods.  I think I’ll pass, but there’s no way to know.  I think I did okay.

This is the fourth time I’ve taken the class.  Each time, I’ve dropped it or taken an incomplete.

The first time, I failed the first two tests so solidly that I was told that dropping and trying again would be in my best interest.  At that time, I didn’t care whether I failed.  Nothing was sticking in my brain; I was full of anger and confusion about other things in my life, and I worried incessantly about how to pay the bills and how to feed the kids and how to spend enough time with them between work and school.  The “get out of class free” offer was a blessing.  I hoped it would give me spare time to fix some broken things.  One of them was me.

Once I fixed myself, I took the class again.  It was great.  I understood everything, I clicked with my classmates and the professor, and my grades stayed high.  The only little issue was that once I had fixed what was ailing me, for me, the man in my life didn’t like me any more.  He did like to call me while I was on campus to tell me how useless I was, how useless my degree would be, and what opportunities he was missing because he had married me and settled here.  So, I cried too much for my own good, I apologized for my uselessness, and went to work fixing that, too.

It didn’t work.  I left him that semester, and dropped the research methods class and every other class along with it. Moving to a new home with my small person and working to pay for that home came first.  I also needed the extra time to play and be silly, to make homemade waffles and chase mice out of the kitchen and make memories of a very sad time a little happier for the both of us.

The third try at research methods was even better.  I scored the highest of all sections on exams and assignments.  That’s always a good feeling.  I had new freedom and necessary discipline since leaving that man who didn’t like me any more, and studying came easily.  Life was beautiful, and my grade point average was perfect.  Then, perfect turned one night into a nightmare: my small person and I were beaten bloody by a neighbor for no reason.  We left that wonderful little cottage we called home, and I stopped going to that class.  It started before her bus came, and I couldn’t continue to leave her in the hands of neighborhood friends to deliver her to her bus.  The bad person still lived there.  He still does, so we don’t visit.

This time, try number four, has gone by shockingly swiftly, unhindered by heartache, breakups, or break-ins.  My little girl and I have a safe haven and so much love; love changes everything, just like losing it does.

I do not want to take this class again, so I’ll do well on the final exam, and hope for the best on the paper I sent out to be picked apart by a woman much smarter than I am.  Maybe, if the stars are right and my karma is properly balanced, I’ll pass on this try.

If not, I will enroll again, but this time, I could probably teach the damned thing myself.

I think I’ll pass.