Bored or No Bored?

The way I’ve been acting the past few days, a neutral observer might conclude that I didn’t have an exam tomorrow. Revision has not exactly been minimal, but I have the sneaking suspicion that what I have done has been of quite a poor quality…

The main problem is that the second of my three exams is for the module I picked to do. I deliberately picked another module from my own department… so I knew that I wouldn’t have the high lecture/tutorial workload that I got from picking a maths module last year. There is no doubt that there is much less work involved in politics modules compared to maths in my mind… at least in Hull Uni. So my choice was largely to give me more free time.

Suffice to say the free time was probably not spent very effectively. But never mind. Right now the issue is whether this module was really interesting enough. Given the difficulty I’m having in revising – and the boredom it is generating – I am being led to the conclusion that this module was just not interesting enough.

What’s even worse is that the maths module I did last year was not exactly easy, but I managed to get an incredibly 87% mark in it. Sadly, first year marks don’t count to the final degree score. But a quirk of the choosing modules system means that I could have done that maths module this year, and this politics module last year, and then I would have been celebrating getting a glorious 87% that would actually count. That would drag my average up very considerably.

70% is a First. Firsts are damn near impossible on politics degrees, because of the subjective nature of the material being marked. Whereas a maths exam is either right or wrong. I’m aiming for a 2:1, and I’m on course for that. But now I’m in the unfortunate position of worrying about whether the mark I get for this module will be below my average score. It won’t be a problem if it is, assuming the rest of my module results are also 2:1s, as it won’t drag the average down enough.

But obviously I want to avoid any sillyness like that. It would be just nice to scrape a 2:1 in this module. But I just can’t motivate myself to revise. I don’t really care about Carl von Clausewitz and his wonderful theories of war, or whether Argentina had any credible way in which they could have won the Falklands War. While they may be important, they just don’t interest me.

So that’s why I’m in a negative mood, instead of revising. The exam is 9:30am tomorrow, and it can’t come a moment too soon.

Meanwhile, my poor thumbnail, which was on the road to recovery, suffered a rather unusual incident yesterday when I sort of sliced the side of it on a jeans pocket button, pulling the skin away from the nail just slightly. So now I have a new pain from nowhere. It should be fine to write with, but it is definitely stopping me pressing so hard. Maybe that’s a good thing. One of these days a pen will just shatter in my hands while I’m writing. In fact, I’m sure that’s already happened…

In other sad news: I woke up this morning with Busted songs in my head. Now I’ve had to listen to them. This will have to be my guilty secret, shared with to just you – my loyal and ever expanding readership.

Thumbnails

When I write, I can’t help but press seriously hard onto the paper. It’s the way I’ve always done it. Back in primary school, the end of my pencil was always perfectly flat at a 45 degree angle. I hated a freshly sharpened pencil as the nib would be far too scratchy, so I’d work it down on a separate piece of paper until it was flat enough for me to write. Looking back on my writing, my letters are extremely wide because of this tendency.

It’s the same these days, only now I’ve graduated onto pens. I have an extremely large bump to the bottom left of my middle finger nail where my pen rests. And if you feel the other side of a page on which I’ve written, you’ll notice how it’s almost like reading braille.

But the worst damage is often caused on my thumbnail, and always after an exam. The stress of the exam always seems to make me press even harder, and by the end of it I have an extremely sore thumbnail. Fingernails are just such a wonderful and helpful thing for humans… and most animals in fact… to have evolved.

So this morning I have a small pain in my right thumbnail. Yesterday’s exam went very well. I turned over the question paper and couldn’t help but laugh… the questions were almost identical to almost every previous past paper. So the answers were reeled off, and I’m quietly confident. Even better is the fact that there are now just two exams to go, and the next one is on Friday… so I’d better get down to some revision.

Meanwhile, I have been mostly enjoying my return to Hull. It’s been good to see all my housemates again and we’ve had a good laugh. It seems incredible that I’ll be leaving almost all of them in just a few weeks time. It’s been a very good academic year as far as I’m concerned, and compared to the one I had last year it has been fantastic. Next year in London really better be worth upsetting all this for…

Random Collection

For some reason, I don’t feel like my revision has been of a high quality. Then again, I’m convinced I think that every time I do revise. I’ve never had a particular strategy. I just read, write and re-read again and again until I’m bored as hell of the material I’ve been trying to digest. Eventually I can’t take it any more, but that just so perfectly aligns with the exam date. I have a feeling this is going to happen again… but I just feel that not much is going in so far. I keep trying to blame it on the fact that I’m at home with more distractions, but this can’t be true. There’s been no one here but me and one of my brothers since Thursday. I just need to focus and have a little faith in myself.

But there are still a lot of distractions here. While I’ve been home, I’ve been getting involved in my brother’s football team, and I find it all very interesting… possibly to the point of giving me too much to think about. I can be reading about the problems facing the Commons and how perhaps only reform from outside can save it, when suddenly I’ll start thinking about who the team should be this Sunday, and who should leave the team at the end of this season, and maybe I should write some letters out to parents asking for the kit back. Bah. I wish I had something like this in Hull. Maybe I have finally found the niche I was looking for. I spent so long agonising over what kind of volunteering I’d like to do that in the end I didn’t do anything. This seems like a worthwhile pursuit. Something I should think about for when I finally leave home.

Strangely enough, it feels like I never have left home given how much time I’ve been here for the past few weeks. And in four weeks time, I’ll be back all over again until September. I’m still having my doubts about next year. A part of me is saying that if I’m this dedicated to teaching, I have no use for a four-year politics degree, especially as I’m already a year behind where I should be because of my foolish gap year choice. My brain is mulling over the thought that I could very well change degree to a three year one, and so finishing off my degree next year. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, but it’s now too late to take a decision, meaning I have no choice but to finish the four year course. D’oh. Still, I suppose next year’s adventures in London could prove useful if I change my mind. Maybe it will change my mind.

Meanwhile, the debt gets larger. London is going to cost me a fortune anyway, so I’m rather expecting to come out of education with a stonking £17,000 of debt. Here’s to you, Tony Blair!

And I can’t get rid of the smell of cooking oil from last night. Having no brush to put oil onto my Quorn sausages I made a terrible decision of just trying to pour it on. Little did I realise the oil was that runny, and far too much came out. I had windows open for hours and the smell still wouldn’t go, and this morning it is still there. It’s bad enough that it took 30 minutes to cook sausages that were supposed to only take 15, and now I’m being constantly reminded of my cooking folly…

The last full day at home begins…

Time Does Fly

I don’t use the computer as much at home as I do in Hull, so I tend not to think about posting to this journal as much as I normally do when I’m here. But this time, my excuse is that I have been too distracted to realise that I’ve not posted for some time. The past three days I’ve been in Wales with my family, playing a lot of football and visiting Loggerheads Country Park for about the fiftieth time. My family’s rule is that when in doubt about what to do, go to Loggerheads. I’m sure the name of the place is not supposed to be a joke.

The week before that I’ve been here, desperately trying to avoid revision. This plan has been successful so far, but I have a feeling that I’m going to have to begin tomorrow, meaning that this is my last proper day of holiday. It’s been good though… I’ve relaxed and yet also done quite a lot of stuff with my family. My mum and dad are currently running a football team after the manager decided to quit, so I’ve been helping them out with that, going to the matches on a Sunday and the training on Wednesday. It’s been fun.

The odd thing is that I hated playing football when I was in school… the pressure to be good was just too high. Now I know I’m rubbish, I can just play it for the enjoyment now. When I was 11, I once slept underneath my bed in the hope that my parents wouldn’t find me and I’d be able to take the day off school, missing PE where we were due to play a game against another school. That day filled me with dread. Needless to say it didn’t work – I must have been stupid to think it would! But desperate times, and all that. I think my mum then went in to school to speak to the headteacher about it, as I didn’t play any more football. But now I’m starting to enjoy playing it again. Possibly something to do with the fact that I’ve realised I do very little exercise, and I may just be starting to put on weight, when I’ve always been a slim person. Tut tut.

Meanwhile, farce follows me everywhere. To work in my local primary school this summer, I need to get an enhanced CRB disclosure. The form was simple enough, and I got it signed by the secretary of the school, where she had to prove she had seen my three forms of ID by writing their details onto the form. Unfortunately, she failed to do this properly, and so, two weeks after me submitting the form to the school, it came back to me to get it completed properly. I’ve now sent it back off again with the missing information that the school failed to add. Two weeks wasted. This could mean that I start school (sounds weird saying that) later than the date I anticipated now. I remember this time last year I was waiting until the final day before I left the country for a police check for my job in a USA summer camp too.

Right… time to enjoy my last day of freedom. Back to Hull on Sunday. First exam on Monday, and the next the following Friday. Then the next three weeks after that first Monday. Snore. But then it’s all over for another year. w00t.

Passing The Time

Back home, life is proceeding at a rapid pace. I got back bright and early on Saturday at 10am, extremely tired. I just couldn’t sleep the night before, maybe because I’d eaten too many pancakes with syrup. I got about three hours sleep, and eventually gave up trying at 2am. It wasn’t much later that I had to get the train anyway, and I still had lots of packing and cleaning to do.

It was a fun journey, and it was rather cool to think that taking this early train option meant that ordinarily I’d only just be getting out of bed, yet there I was three-quarters of the way home. Then I got back home in time for a second, slightly late, breakfast. And I got to watch a sunrise from on the train. Made all the tiredness worthwhile.

The week so far has been spent doing not very much at all, yet that was always my intention. After the stress of researching and writing essays, having some relaxation time is exactly what I needed. But I’ve also been doing some other things, including taking my sister and nephew to school, collecting them at the end of the day, and then cleaning the home inbetween. As I’ve observed before, it feels good to help out in this way. This is the kind of stuff that I can’t do in Hull, and if I tried to clean the house there, for example, it wouldn’t be appreciated, I wouldn’t get any help, and it would be a mess again within hours. Plus, it’s such a dark and depressing house anyway. I’ll be glad to see the back of it in mid-May.

The other, rather more important, thing that has happened this week is that I have bitten the bullet… and volunteered to work in my local primary school as much as they need me from mid-May to mid-July. The headteacher said she’d be happy for me help out, and I’m nervously looking forward to it. It will be interesting to see how it all works out. Whatever happens it will definitely help me make a decision as to whether this is exactly the career I want to go into. So, now America is out of the question, I guess I should contact the camp and tell them I’m definitely not coming back. I meant to warn them ages ago… I hope they won’t be disappointed. I’m sad I won’t be able to go, as I was really looking forward to seeing everyone again. But the logistics are against me…

To finish… The (Disturbing) Things Kids Say: my six year old nephew told me that when they were doing “News” in school, having to write about a news story, he was the only one who wrote about Iraq (which won him a gold star). When I asked him why, he told me it was because they are always bombing, shooting and killing each other. What a sad world we live in if this is the kind of message children are picking up already. Kids are not stupid, and they deserve far more respect than we give them…