Yesterday I got my degree classification for my English Literature MA (hons) and it was a 2.2! In my previous entry I wrote about how bad I expected the result to be and honestly, I was not expecting a 2nd at all. I stared at the screen for several minutes before the hyper hysterical reality hit me and I have been on a high ever since. I am just so happy. I am extremely proud of my fellow students for getting their 2.1’s, I know how hard they worked for them – but I’m not jealous. A 2.2 is beyond my wildest dreams for four years that have been emotionally and physically difficult. I almost gave up this year, considering the idea of resitting my final year and I’m really glad I didn’t now. I’m still waiting for my individual module marks, but it is most likely my creative writing dissertation which boosted my final mark. I seriously doubt my exam results were that good.
They say you can do anything if you believe in it, if you put the work in and I finally feel like that is true. I had health problems during my first degree, however, they were mostly in the final part of my final year. I had to get an extension for my dissertation and that probably cost me a 1st. I was and still am overjoyed with the 2.1 I got, just as I am with this result. There are always going to be ‘what ifs’ and sometimes, especially when it’s due to health reasons beyond my control, it is easy to get lost in them. What if I hadn’t been so ill? What if I’d not missed so many classes? At the end of the day I am very lucky that it doesn’t matter. I’m already accepted into a Masters so the result didn’t matter – wait no, that is incorrect; it didn’t matter to my career, to my future. To me personally it matters. I would have been satisfied with a worse result, yet I would have felt terrible. Like a failure. Everyone around me would have told me not to be so silly, that even just completing a second degree with my health issues is a marvellous achievement – and they would have been right. I still would have felt bad. I still feel bad about my A-level results all those years ago despite holding two undergraduate degrees now.
Last time I got my degree classification I had just come out of a bad relationship, and while I was proud of myself, my future was completely up in the air. I had this awesome degree, loads of knowledge and experience in my mind and no idea what to do with it. No confidence to do anything with it. That was 8 years ago, and several months later I would make a choice to return to a game I still play today, the MMORPG World of Warcraft, after a chance meeting at my cousin’s wedding. There I met Chris, the amazing and loving man who has helped me through this degree and built my confidence up one bit at a time. I still have bad days, they will never go away, but I have hope and I have love. This time I am surrounded by love and support, people cheering me on and wanting me to do well – for myself.
I got my resit grade yesterday, a B3, but I wanted to wait until I got the official notification from my department. I don’t know if I got the classes I asked for yet, might need to wait a few more days for those. I should definitely have creative writing as that was a separate application. I worked so hard for this and I am just so happy to have done it. So to the dear anonymous who left me that nice message on tumblr; what have you got to say now? Clearly as the resit result has shown I am more than capable of getting the grade when “healthy” enough (it’s in quotation marks because my average level of healthy is well.. poor anyway).
I also got a job, it’s temporary and due to some people stalking me online I’m not going to be specific. I had the training for it this week and it seems good and they are very understanding about my disability too. It’s a bit scary, but it’s only temporary so if it ends up being that terrible at least it is only for a while. Despite being temporary it means I’ve gotten my foot in a door and a good amount of experience, both of which will help me in the future. And to be honest I think I needed this; it’s forced me to get some parts of my life sorted rather than letting me just sit back before classes start.
I had hoped that due to these pieces of news that the title of this entry would be something like “Things are getting better”. Instead yesterday’s joy was met with devastating news. Our first cat, Az, who Chris and I left in London as he was settled in, was hit by a car yesterday. He didn’t survive. I managed to get through today’s training, I don’t know how. I spent yesterday on a complete high – until I got this news last night – and now I just can’t even muster a smile at the good news. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy, I’m relieved… but.. anyone who’s ever lost a cat so suddenly will know what I mean. He was only 5 and he is the second cat to die this year, third in less than a year. The other two who I still miss terribly, were 17 and it’s odd for a cat to live older than 15, so yeah… Az was so young and no one could have seen this happen.
How do you write a public entry in which you admit your own failure? Why am I writing this at all? I can answer the second question; catharsis to remind myself of the facts. Fact #1 – I was very ill this term, fact #2 – I didn’t fail anything. Unfortunately neither of those facts helped me to feel better.
I guess the best place to start is with my actual grades: C1 for Comparative Literature, C1 for English Literature, D1 for English Language. The English Language is actually ok; I dislike C’s and D’s but I just needed a pass in a subject I was forced to take and hated every minute of it. English language is just not my subject. It’s the C1 for English Literature that is the big thorn in my side. To get into English Honours a B grade is required in term 1 and term 2, I got a B1 for term 1 and term 2 is the C1. On average I have a B3, but they do not accept the average and I thus have to achieve a B grade for term 2 to be accepted into honours. I went through the appeal process and today I found out that I’ve been given permission to resit the exam and resubmit the essay.
On the one hand I’m glad that my health problems were taken into account, that the appeals committee did agree that there were adverse medical conditions and that I deserve the chance to prove myself. I had been worried that because my main issue was depression and anxiety, that it would not be taken seriously. I am very grateful that my university continues to be supportive of all health problems. Now I just need to focus and prove to myself that I am capable of reaching the required grade. I have everyone around telling me I can; that doesn’t magically stop me worrying because I’m not that sort of person. I’ll only be happy when I actually achieve what’s required of me and that is a B. I’d already started planning some of my resit studying, and have library books ready for me. I’ve also formulated a plan of attack, so to speak, aka what texts and what essay question I’m planning to do. The essay questions are the same ones, which isn’t great, but it does give me an opportunity to write a feminist based approach which I feel will provide a stronger essay.
The exam is what worries me the most. I felt like I hadn’t done badly in that exam, or maybe I was just glad it was over with or didn’t want to recognise how bad the questions were. This was our first glimpse of the new questions, and despite being told that we’d be fine looking at the previous papers, I did feel like I’d been thrown through a loop when I first saw the exam paper. This time I have a copy of that exam paper – thank heavens it is already on the library website – so I have something concrete to work from. Hindsight also means I can change the texts around as well. I can do whatever I want provided I don’t redo topics I have already done, so changing texts makes sense.
I have a month basically; until 6th August which is when the exam is held. I had hoped for a nice relaxing summer, one without resits, but I need to remember one important thing – I am only resitting one subject, not 3 like last summer. There is a lot more weighing on this one subject, but I only need to remember one set of texts, one type of exam themes rather than everything I had to cram into my brain in April/May. During July I have a holiday with my parents and Chris which I’m really looking forward to, and I hope I’m able to enjoy it without overly stressing too much about the exam and essay.