(I don’t always accept challenges … who am I kidding, I take them on all the bloody time)
I met my tutor for the upcoming year today, and was set an essay on a text I’ve not read, in a historical period I know nothing about. It’s due in eleven days.
The faults here – if we can call them faults – are entirely mine; I’ve neglected large parts of my reading lists in favour of blogging and social media projects that I won’t link to now because I want to prove to myself that I can mention my hobbies without ramming them down the throats of the innocent, and am now living with those consequences. I need to learn about a thing I should have learned about, in a much shorter period of time than I would ideally have to learn about it.
But I don’t think this is a bad thing. Deadlines are great motivators, and now I’ll have to be enthused about the subject matter because my studying of it will be squashed into the sort of time frame that will require round-the-clock devotion to metaphors. It’s also good, for me anyway, to have deadlines imposed from others, as I value those to a far greater extent than ones I set for myself: if I fail to hit a reading deadline, it’s my knowledge that suffers, and I don’t really matter so it’s fine; but if I miss an essay deadline, my tutor’s life and (presumably) tight schedule of receiving and reviewing pieces becomes skewed. As a keeper of many colour-coded planning grids, this is an awful fate.
It’s also been good to engage with my degree; Facebook page renamings and sporadic mechanical emails, mass-sent to the unwashed masses that constitute the UCL English Department student body, because we’re interchangeable parts, are nice but face-to-face communication is a much better thing. In the heady mixture of article-editing, child-tutoring and breadline-living that is the vast majority of my life, it’s easy to forget that I’m actually studying medieval literature, a thing that I rather enjoy.
So bring it on, essays. I’m ready. Mentally, if not logistically.