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Just Make it Up

How to correct a minor mistake

By Chelas MontanyePublished 11 months ago Updated 11 months ago 4 min read
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I have always been curious about how things work and how to fix the things that don’t. One day I got it into my head that I wanted to understand how the chemicals added to our food impacted the human body in ways that might corrupt society. I went down to the local college and tried to sign up for some classes. I had no idea that you had to have an actual reason to study and needed to select an area of study in order to be able to register for classes in college. In a quick decision, I settled upon a Major in Chemisty and a Minor in Sociology.

I’m not certain as to how many semesters I had accomplished, before I had signed up to take a world history class. It was a class on civilizations, or something similar, that I included in my schedule on a whim. I don’t believe that I really needed to take the class, I most likely chose it as an elective.

If I remember correctly, my first year of classes at that college consisted mostly of electives, because we live in a society that regards women to be a lower form of life. So, being that, my high school guidance counselor determined for me, as a female living in extreme poverty, that I shouldn’t be bothered taking any classes that wouldn’t teach me anything that didn’t concern someone of my class and sex status. I was dismissed from taking all algebra and higher math classes throughout my high school years.

Unfortunately and fortunately for me, my first year of moving forward with a degree in chemistry required me to complete three pre-algebra classes. I could not take my first college chemistry class until I had completed at least one college level algebra class. I had to take four semesters of algebra, before I could even consider thinking about a degree in chemistry. I had already taken all of the needed class requirements, such as english, history, and psych, when I graduated from another college with an AA degree. This allowed me to choose whichever electives I wanted to take, along with my algebra class. I was paying cash for classes, at $60 a credit, so the sky was the limit. Yes, you’re allowed to jealous, because that was only twenty years ago.

Midway through the semester, the professor is finding my completed work to be rather impressive. One day, as he is returning our writing assignments, he decides to applaud me in front of the entire class. As he is honoring me with accolades, he asks me, as I stood by my desk, how I do it.

Well, I can say this, I was rather confused. First, I had never been presented with the task of having to study all of the parts and functions of the human brain. Second, how was I supposed to know what, as far as I was aware, even neurology surgeons have difficulty comprehending and determining. And third, I was expected to answer within only a few seconds, in front of an entire class, to students who were struggling to obtain a C average.

I took one second to think about it, another to narrow it down to something that would be easily comprehensible, and then I spit it out my answer. “I don’t actually have a clue. My brain just makes it up.”

The class fell dead silent. The professor was shocked. I sat back in my seat, and it took me till the end of the class to realize how my words had sounded to them. I still had time to correct what I had said, but the reaction was so priceless that I decided not to.

The following week, I returned to the class. The professor had a new writing assignment for us, but before he handed out his papers he announced to the class that there would be some changes in the requirements needed to complete the project. Every student needed to attach a list of their sources of their research. Everyone in the class turned their heads in my direction.

The spotight once again fell on me, and it gave me a new opportunity to explain what I had meant to say, and correct the miscommunication. I considered the repercussions of my actions, an extra step had been added to our assignments. It wasn’t a complicated step, and I always tried my best to keep a list of most of my sources, so it wasn’t a biggie.

My decision was to shrug it off and not say anything. Why ruin the emotion for everyone, especially for me, who found it absolutely humorous. The entire class spent the rest of the semester thinking that I was so smart, that I could fool the professor into giving me straight A’s by “just making it up.”

If ever you are faced with correcting a minor error, especially when writing, consider what was best, the correction of the error or the reaction the error and the emotion that the error might cause the reader. You might be better off not fussing too much over those very minor details.

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About the Creator

Chelas Montanye

I’m an advocate for education and equal health care. I love satire. I love to express myself through art and writing. Social issues fascinate and astound me. Co-founder of Art of Recycle.

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