So we received our essay grades and feedback yesterday and I’m feeling a bit down about it. My DH doesn’t really get it because it’s still a relatively good mark – he teases me saying most students just want to pass and are grateful for a credit but I’m very disappointed if I get one. I’ve come to expect a certain standard of work for myself partly due to pride – I want my usual standard of work to be very good. People keep telling me, and I keep getting feedback from my teachers, that I write really well. So if it’s a talent of mine then I’d like to develop it to its full potential. The expectation I have of the standard of my work is also partly driven by my wanting to continue with post-grad studies once I finally finish this degree and there are grade requirements for being accepted into those post-grad degrees.
This semester I’m feeling mixed emotions about my studies. On one hand I’m loving being back into my routine, of having that special time for myself each week, away from my family to fill my cup so to speak. It’s been great to be learning about Europe in the 20th Century and I understand so much more now which I’m thrilled about. On the other hand I’ve found the juggle of studying with 3 kids, not 2, to be very challenging. Each child has had extra issues (mainly because of the move and having a new baby in the family) that have taken time and energy to manage.
My own health hasn’t been great since my baby’s been a few months old and I think all of these things combined have made my thought processes not as clear as they’d usually be. It’s so hard to find the time to just clear my mind – I feel like my brain’s working on a type of frenetic energy these days and so I don’t feel at peace very much. I’ve taken up a guided meditation through a closed facebook group that is allowing me to learn how to quieten my mind but, as other parents will know, it’s hard to take that extra time for yourself without feeling guilty. I find it’s hard to do the meditation without being interrupted by the children or the dog even when DH is home with us. Someone’s always wanting me! Sometimes I just start laughing about it because it’s so typical. It reminds me of that saying the quickest way to get your children’s attention is to sit down by yourself and start reading a book! I hope as my beautiful baby girl grows older and relies on me a little less that I might start to reclaim my mind from all the busy-ness of life…. sometimes.
What have I learned from getting a credit grade for this latest essay? Well, again, like the previous times it’s been a good kick in the pants. Something needs to change in how I undertake these assignments. The feedback I got was “well-researched”, “strong argument”, and “beautifully structured, clearly and logically argued piece”. So what was the problem I hear you ask? Where did I lose all those marks?
Basically I wrote a great essay but didn’t answer the question! My own question – that I came up with!!
Well, not quite. This first part of this assignment was to construct a research question that we’d later write the essay to. I found during the second part of the assignment when I was undertaking the research that of the three questions I had proposed only two of them really became relevant in answering. The third question became negated through answering the first two. However I only vaguely implied that in my essay, if that. I should have either stated it explicitly in the essay the reason why I wasn’t going to directly answer the question or I should have gone back to my teacher asking if I could remove the question. I felt discouraged from doing the latter as the requirements for this essay stated that you may disadvantaged from changing the essay question and may lose marks. Upon reading the requirements again it didn’t sound so bad. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t email my lecturer about this issue. Lesson learned…. I hope!