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Monday, October 30, 2006
Midterm Freakout
If the drive for most grad students is "Thou shalt not suck," then I've failed miserably to adhere to that credo. For you see, the snow ball effect that I'm terribly wary of, has gotten me again. In my department at Flat Place U, we don't have a week of midterms......we have about a month. Which would be great, if you only had one midterm a week. Instead, what most grad student get is a month of freaking out about exams, papers, and playing tests. And while other schools get that nice, sanity restoring Fall Break, we get Midterm month (what I've taken to calling the spiral of doom). And it's not just the students who get completely trashed mentally......all of the Profs end up looking like they've been run over by cars.

So back to the spiral of doom. I got my midterm exam grade for one of my classes back, and while some people would be happy with it.....if I was it just wouldn't be me. So while my head is saying....."Get a grip Mac it's only one test," the rest of my body is screaming failure and the top of its lungs. So that instead of practicing for another midterm today, my head is mostly occupied with trying to fix the problems with the first class.....and I end up going down in flames on the second midterm. Ain't grad school great?

Again....I should just get a grip. None of the midterm grades I got necessarily mean that I still won't get the grade (and boy do I hate it that I'm so grade obessessed in the first place!) that I want. After all, that's what midterms are for....to help you reassess your efforts. But what I can't get out of my head is that I'm surrounded by all of these fabulously talented, genuinely good people (profs and students alike), and I want to be like them. I want to be able to hang with these guys, and these grades tell me that I need to redouble my efforts. Or at least modify them. My Soo Bahk Do instructor once told me that failure is an underhanded gift. And we can either use it, or we can drown in our own ego.

Empty your cup.

Peace, love, and tunes,
posted by Mac Tíre at 12:55 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 10:15 PM, Blogger Dharmonia

    Mac, dearie -- you ARE one of the "fabulously talented, genuinely good people." You're aready hangin'. All your professors have occasionally not done as well on a midterm as they wanted (or tanked an exit exam, or failed two entrance exams, or failed their master's degree recital hearing, or received the British-accented comment "You are the weakest link" during a rehearsal, just to name a few of my personal academic disasters.) As for redoubling your efforts, effort is always good, but it's the process that counts. Remember that Suzuki quote I told you (the one where he said to a group of his students, "All of you are perfect, you just need some improvement.") To wax astrological for a moment, my personal observation has been that every Virgo I know, in their heart of hearts, believes that Perfection Exists. This manifests in big things and little things [like deciding to "clean their room," and not finishing because they spent two hours sorting their sock drawer by colors -- as opposed to the Aquarians, who don't finish because they got sidetracked, re-wired the TV, and painted a large peacock on the wall.] Perfection sounds like a great idea, but it's just as "empty" as everything else in Samsara. Your effort is strong. Your intention is good. That's perfect.