I finally dragged my ass into bed early this morning around 3:00 am. "Sam?" I said, and waited for the grunt-like noise that indicated he'd floated far enough out of his unconsciousness to hear me. "Let me sleep until six." Another grunt.
A day into the first of my goals, and I haven't met them yet. I know the typical criticism of resolutions - they basically begging to be broken, and then once you break them you have a "well, I've failed - fuck it" reaction. I think goals are a better frame of reference. Unlike a resolution, I'm not assuming success until failure, I'm assuming failure until success. Not meeting one today doesn't mean quit, it means work harder.
The reason I was dragging myself into bed at 3:00 am is I spent most of last night staring at Math Methods homework. I'm actually being really successful this semester:
- In Calculus, my lowest quiz score so far is 9/10; I've only missed one quiz entirely, due to illness; my first test was a 98%. I have my second test tomorrow. I should be at an A+.
- In Math Methods, I've been getting consistent A's on the homework, which, unlike the Calculus quizzes, is a non-trivial feat. I managed a B+ on the first test, and considering I hadn't finished the homework in time so was missing part of the material, I think that's pretty solid. (It also followed a Friday Optics test on a Monday, which caused me to make a sad face.)
- In Optics, which is probably my most difficult class, I'm sitting at an A. I got a C on the first homework, then turned that around with two perfect (or nearly-perfect) assignments and a test grade which wound up being an A after scaling.
- Economics is an A. It's easy. You don't meet a lot of anarcho-capitalists, libertarian types, or people who ascribed to objectivism (lower- or upper-case) at some point who don't understand the most basic economic principles.
- Ethics is another relatively easy A. It's a similar situation to Economics, really - even if objectivism flies in the face of something like 90% of all of the other philosophies out there, you don't learn about it without picking up on a lot of other random philosophy-foo, particularly formal logic. Rand turned me into a philosophy nerd, and an exacting one at that; while a lot of the class struggles with memorizing examples that are meant to illustrate principles, I struggle with arguments I find less than compelling. Thinking about the course that critically fortunately means that just giving back what I've been given is fantastically easy. When the instructor asks, "Based on our class discussions, why would you accept or reject theory X?" my reaction is to answer with, "Well, we rejected it based on a, b, c, d, and e; here's why each of them is flawed." All I have to do is curb the impulse to answer exhaustively beyond the scope of the class - I leave off the "here's why each of them is flawed" part - and I can carefully word my answer so as not to feel dirty about implying I agree with something with which I don't.
That may have seemed like a gigantic tangent, but it's really not. Last semester I was stressed and failing. This semester I'm stressed and succeeding. Success is addictive, pleasant, and so, so much better than failure (in this context).
Last night was a sacrifice of sleep and my early rising goal on the altar of my homework. Actually, it was a little of that, and a little of just the opposite - I didn't get every problem done, because at some point the angry god of sleep wanted some action on his altar, too.
When I was talking about my goals, I skimmed over the goals I'm already working on in favor of the ones I'm just starting. I think that my primary goal is to find a balance between my goals, so that if - or realistically, when - they come into conflict and I have to sacrifice one for another, I have a better way of deciding when two hours of sleep is worth the points I'll get for the homework I can get done (or whatever the situation might be). Last night, the 0.6% of my final grade that the handful of problems I finished represented was probably a less than optimal use of my time, as I'm unfocused, surly and vaguely depressed today.
You live, you learn.