April 28th, 2011

Rainbow || Rainbow northern lights.

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Not a dream in which I am at my most compassionate. *Chuckles.* I woke up confused - why was I dreaming about high school? Today was my last day of university break! (And that dream is close enough to true, though it's a mix of junior year, senior year and fiction. I did skip school one day when classes were ridiculous, and I did go home to finish a project, but I doubt it was the greenhouse one since I think I procrastinated on that one.)

Throughout today I've had this feeling of guilt that I'm not trying my hardest, not shoving my nose down against the grindstone 'til the stone is a cheese grater and my nose is cheese, which is what I've been known to do. And it's not as though I can't now, which is what's causing the guilt. I am physically, mentally, emotionally and whatever-else-ally capable of pushing myself that hard. Pushing myself to greatness. Being something...more.

Except that I'd be breaking as I did it.

I finished copying down one of the longest lectures in one of my hardest classes today, then another just now. That's all the lectures for the class, so now I've just got the extra reading/note-taking and then the pre-exam revision time. It's reasonable, but it's not a lot of work for a day, not when I compare it against what I have been capable of before (as my mind automatically does). I bit my lip a lot.

Then I remembered the dream and that beautiful nonchalant feeling that school was just another thing. And I thought that was what the dream was for, to remind me of that. I unfortunately don't have a midway line on my dial between 'over-invested panic' and 'nonchalant chill'. I've been in the prior so long that I forgot I even had the latter.

This is my feeling of senioritis: acknowledgement that there's something after, something more. It's a little distracting, but it keeps me saner. I have a list of 'Things to Learn After Uni' next to me and it's getting longer every day - and some of it is academic, some even related to my course! So that endless curiosity and unquenchable thirst for knowledge/experience/wisdom/anything-you-can-give-me isn't going anywhere.

Unfortunately Nonchalant Chill Mode means my work dial won't go quite as high. And after second-year coursework --> dissertation lit review --> 40hr-and-more work weeks teaching children --> saying goodbye to everyone --> third-year workload --> dissertation --> exam revision, I'm pooped. Really and truly. Senior year of high school I was just frustrated and ready to go - now I'm that and exhausted. I either can't/won't give it my all, I haven't got my all to give or my 'all' is significantly less at this point - whichever it is of the three, I want to stop beating myself up for it.

(Before reading next paragraph, this guide to grade classification may be useful.)

In my Over-Invested Panic Mode, I figured out how well I have to do in most of my exams ([insert rant here about professors who can't get work back in time/won't upload grades online/don't have a Blackboard at all]). In the 5 (/7) I could calculate, I have to get 16-31% to get an ordinary pass - so I'll pass, if nothing drastically disastrous occurs. I've never failed anything in uni before; I don't think I've had below a 50 (third/C). To get a 2:1 (upper second/B) I have to get at least 50-57%, which seems doable since I usually score at least 60 (B-) even at my worst. Some classes I may even be able to get a first (A): 63% for Research Topics; 67/68% for Mammalian Reproduction; 69% for Conservation & Biodiversity. For others it's impossible: 76% Community & Landscape; 77% Environmental Management. (Mind, the example of an 'exemplary essay' Duncan put up for Environmental Management scored a 72%. No one expects to do that well on a scientific essay exam [which is annoying, since people in maths can theoretically get up to 100 and I've never seen anyone in science touch close to an 80]). For the mystery classes, I think they'll fall on the lower end of the scale for difficulty: Wildlife in the Farming Environment is a 50/50 coursework/exam like Environmental Management and I'm nearly positive I did much better on my coursework in Wildlife; Conservation Biology is 30/70 coursework/exam and I think I did very well on the presentation (with Jojobird & Claire) and end-of-term data analysis test (I went perfectionist and was the fifth-to-last person to leave).

*Points up.* That's my Hermione Over-Invested Panic Mode, as you can probably see. It's a little exhausting. But it does mean that I have a reasonably trustworthy chance of getting a 2:1/B for my exams (which are worth 2/3rd of this year, my dissertation the rest). This year is worth 2/3rd of my cumulative mark, my second year the other third - and I scraped a first/A for that, barely. I also have a 100% coursework module in which I think I scored close to an 80 (A+). So I could come out of this all with a solid 2:1/B. Which is good. I keep trying to remind myself of that. I don't need to be an A student to have self-worth and self-love. In fact, nothing out of this revision or these exams or these results or this degree will give me those if I don't already feel them.

It's also why I want this Nonchalant Chill Mode to stick around, even if it means not working quite as hard toward my exams. When I'm in it, I remember that these days I'm not my Hermione self; save what I've just given above, I don't usually indicate to anyone how well I'm doing - people either assume or my mother tells them. (I love you, Mum, and I don't mind you doing it since it's you and you're aloud to be, uhm, proud - I suppose - and it's you and Da paying [thank you!] so you can blab. You know, when I can't hear you.) I don't put results on Facebook or speak with my friends about it any more, unless I have concerns. In high school I spoke about my results all the time - which made sense as I was constantly studying. Results aren't my deal these days, even if some parts of me think they're stitched onto my forehead whenever I receive them.

In high school I felt like a strange inverse Scarlet Letter woman, with an A stitched to my forehead and everyone expecting it to stay there...so that when it fell away, there was scandal and disappointment. This end of university I have said 'sod that', scrubbed my forehead clean and painted a unicorn surfing a rainbow over a forest. I think Nonchalant Chill Mode is what I need, especially if it keeps me dancing in the kitchen like I have been since a few hours ago. (:

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"It was the rainbow gave thee birth, and left thee all her lovely hues."
[W. H. Davies]
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