THANK YOU, DR. GARBIN!
So, who is this Dr. Garbin, anyway?
And why am I thanking him? And for what?
First, I have to admit something that not a lot
of people know…I suck at math.
No, I mean I REALLY suck at math.
I’m a Ph.D. and I can’t add multiple digits without a
calculator…that kind of sucking at math.
It’s embarrassing, but it’s the absolute truth.
IN MY OWN DEFENSE…
I used to think maybe I was so bad at math because
I moved frequently as a military brat,
and in some schools I would be way ahead of the class,
but other years I was way behind
and never could catch up.
Maybe it’s because I got the idea that
girls couldn’t do math or science,
so I shouldn’t worry that I sucked at it.
Or maybe I have an actual math learning disability…
I grew up before they did any testing for that.
A BIG UH OH…
So I worked really hard in high school and
as an undergraduate to deal with the math that
was put before me…because I had a dream
to one day get into graduate school.
I wanted to be a psychologist so bad I could
taste it. I had dreams about it at night, and
I daydreamed about it during the day.
And…I made it! I got to graduate school.
And found out I had to get a B or above
(that would be an A) in FIVE graduate
level statistics courses. Uh oh.
A DREAM ON THE ROCKS
So I came face-to-face with a major barrier.
I would sit in any math class and it felt like sitting in
a class where everyone was speaking a foreign
language I could not begin to understand.
It all went right over my head.
And I thought, for the first time,
that maybe my dream of becoming a
psychologist was in serious trouble.
“I KNOW YOU’RE NOT STUPID.”
Dr. Cal Garbin was my statistics professor…he was
everybody’s statistics professor in my program.
And I told him that I wasn’t understanding a word he
said in class and I was pretty sure I was going to fail.
And he told me something I have never forgotten.
He said, “I know you’re not stupid.”
If he’d left it at that, it wouldn’t have made any
difference, but he didn’t leave it at that.
He said he knew I was an honors student,
and that I wouldn’t have gotten
into the highly competitive clinical psych
program unless I could do it.
And then he said he would make sure I was
able to do it…and here’s how that worked.
M&Ms & Dr. Garbin & ME & the TURTLES
Our deal was that after every statistics class, I
went to the vending machine and got a pack of
M&Ms (the cost of a tutoring session)
and went down to the basement,
where Cal’s office was and where he kept
his tanks full of turtles.
And he would patiently walk me through every
lesson, everything he had already lectured us
on for over 2 hours, AGAIN, until the
lightbulb finally went on.
And I just prayed it would stay on long enough
for me to complete the assignments he gave
and to pass the class with a B (or above).
I’VE ALWAYS BEEN VERY FOND OF BEES
I never got an A in a math class…and I
didn’t break with tradition for Dr. Garbin.
But I passed his classes…all 5 of them…
with a B, which allowed me to jump the
highest hurdle in the program for me.
Everything else, by comparison,
was a piece of cake.
SO THANK YOU DR. GARBIN
Dr. Garbin didn’t have to spend all that
extra time tutoring me. I’m sure he had
about a hundred better things to do.
I sometimes wonder what would have
happened if he had said something else to me,
something like “Well, you’ll just have to do the best
you can to keep up.” I would have failed.
I can take credit for all the hard work I did in my
program, everything I brought to becoming a
future psychologist…but when it comes down to it,
I owe my being able to be here doing what I’m doing
as Dr. Anita Sanz to a statistics professor,
who went the extra mile for a student.
So, thank you, Dr. Garbin, for doing what you
didn’t really have to do.
It made all the difference in the world to me.
SPEAKING OF IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS…
I hope you are enjoying A Year to Change…
we are on Week 17 already!
2011 is moving crazy fast!!!!!
But you can jump in at any time and join us
in making weekly positive changes in your life!
I’ve been writing about how to have a healthier
relationship with your body the last few weeks,
and in the coming weeks I take a turn into
the exciting, complicated, wonderful realm of…
Not just the intimate ones…
all the kinds of relationships we have
and have had with people in our lives.
So stay tuned and remember,