I got my first essay result back today. It wasn’t too shabby – it was above average, however not at all near the top, and it is annoying the hell out of me. Not only because I am an extremely competative person by nature, but because it is hard for me to accept that I am no longer top of the class as I was in high school, and that at university level I am in fact rather ordinary. I have always been spoiled with top grades – they would come to me so easily. However, what was a good essay in high school is very mediocre at UCL.
I tend to put too much pressure on myself – even though the tutor marking my essay wrote it was a well done, strongly argued and well researched piece, knowing that is was not sufficient to reach the top mark is devastating to me. I have a bad bad, maybe even dangerous habit of estimating my value as a person according to my academic performance. Not according to how I perform as a daughter, as a friend or a girlfriend – things I maybe should be worrying about – but no, how I perform as a student. If I don’t reach the top, I start questioning myself what is wrong with me, believing I am dumb and worthess – and if I do reach the top, it feels like a drug – I just need more and more. However, I will try not to think of it too much. At least not this time. This is the first essay I’ve ever written at university level, and to be honest I was expecting a much lower mark as the essay was written at a very early stage of term before I had familiarized myself with the academic form of writing. The tutor told me if I formulate my arguments a bit more formally the next time, I can go far – and that encourages me to a certain extent. I am glad he can see my potential (heck, I am glad I HAVE a potential), and I can see where he is coming from, because I felt too that this essay sounded a bit too much like a newspaper review rather than an academic discourse. However, the one I have been working on now which is due next Friday is a lot more professional-sounding, and by reading through it I realize just how much my English has developed over these past three months by reading academic texts. I can barely recognize myself in my writing anymore – it is so different from what it used to be. (Although not in my blog mind you). I am hoping for a better result next time, especially now that I know approximately what they are expecting of us. I will never be as cocky and confident about my results at UCL as I was at high school – but I will fight with blood and tears to be everything that I can be, and I KNOW I can reach that top mark. Ok, I’m done now. Just needed to get it out.