(and I have no need to hide them on a curtain)
Whisper it folks, but exam season is approaching. Or don’t whisper it. Shout it. Love it. Relish it! Sing from the rooftops that you’ve got three hours to show you’re slightly more than competent at whatever subject you’ve decided or been forced to do, and you could do it in two! Honestly, this is my approach to exams: if I succeed and get a decent mark, it shows I’ve engaged with the material and can produce work in response to it that other, more educated, people deem to be ‘good’; and if I fail and scrape a 41%, it only necessarily shows that I’m bad at exams, and will take nothing away from the genuine enjoyment I’ve got out of studying those texts over the year. Obviously, this can be inverted into a pessimistic slant – that success in exams doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a good writer, and that failure means I am necessarily a bad one – but I’m capable of at least some optimism in my life, okay?
With that in mind, I’ve spent the afternoon making plans for my impending revision: I’ll work on this theme on this day, and this text on another, all on a big-ass calendar that’s been basically useless since I got it at New Year’s, but is now covered in colourful scrawlings and motivational Mass Effect quotes.
I know I won’t stick to this plan to the letter, as well; this plan is an ideal, in which I basically rote-learn the entirety of the last 500 years of English literature in about a month and become capable of discussing said material at a first-getting level. The good thing about having an unrealistic plan, however, is that it always gives me more things to do – even if I somehow complete one module’s worth of work, I’ll definitely be behind in at least another module – and for me, failure is an exclusively motivational experience. If I don’t do all the things I plan to this weekend, I just try to do them on Monday, rather than wallowing in self-pity that I’ve been beaten by a highlighted to-do list on a calendar. Considering I’m at UCL, and have a shit-load of admittedly pretty good grades in the past, I’m comfortable saying that for me, all work is good work, so getting through 60% of an unrealistic schedule is 60% of things that I have done, and done well, rather than missing out of 40% of what was ultimately an ungrounded, hypothetical schedule in the first place.
Of course, I could crash and burn this May, repeat the year and basically lose contact with all my friends who are edging ever closer to real life while I’m learning about the fundamental pointlessness of the battle in Heaven in Paradise Lost (again); but until that happens, I have a month to learn this shit, so I’ll learn it. I’ve spent the year writing for magazines, playing dodgeball and generally making up for the last eighteen years of not having a particularly diverse or rewarding life; but now I’ll put that stuff aside and go be a revision machine for the next month.