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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 7:01 pm
by Spoon girl
I've had quite a few personal and mental health issues this year. As a result I got very behind with my work. For the most part I managed to complete things to my usual standard through perseverance and allocating more time but two things have gone wrong. My recital for which I need a B- to continue a performance next year didn't go too well and whilst I'd be surprised if I failed it remains unlikely that I got the grade I need. This I can resit, and so whilst it is disappointing, there is a way out. In an attempt to slow things down enough to cope, I received an extension on one piece of work. The extension date came and I was utterly panicked by it and couldn't get it done so I got another extension until this thursday. I remain utterly stuck. It's a transcription of a piece, something that's not my strong point and I didn't get a tutorial on it or anything. It's also from a module that was totally unrelated. We learnt about the history of the music of brazil and the only way this is linked is that it's a Brazilian piece. I am stuck, I am panicked and I don't think I can get it done. I have mittigating circumstances meaning that if I fail then I can resit without getting marks capped at 40% but if I hand it in and somehow scrape a pass I have to keep that grade, even if it's only 41%. My best plan seems to be to deliberately fail, i.e not hand it in but I don't know how to go about this without looking like I don't care and I don't know how to forgive myself for messing all of this up. I feel useless.

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 8:35 pm
by Thirteen-thirty-seven
El, it is not your fault that you're having trouble. Youhave a few options:
1. Ask a lecturer for help.
2. Ask your University's mental-health-official-type-person to intercede on your behalf.
3. Ask a friend for help with anxiety/planning time.
4. If you have a counsellor, call him/her and arrange an emergency appointment.

*hugs* Take care of yourself. I know how hard this can be. You have done so well to manage thus far. Good luck.

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:49 pm
by parnassus
El, I understand how you are feeling - I have had similar problems myself this year. Unfortunately, I didn't think of getting doctor's letter to certify that I've been struggling with anxiety until it was too late and there will be no allowances made for me by the examiners. I will not be getting the First that was expected at the outset. I do not even know if I will manage a 2.i. Because there is so little that I can do about it now, I've had to try and gain a broader perspective on things.

My therapist has told me that even though it seems as though university fills your world and your options will be limited severely by a poor performance, this is just the perception of a stressed student and in no way reflects reality. I do not always believe this, and it took me several months of counselling before I could even accept it as true for some of the time, but luckily today is one of the days when I can see that she's right. I love books. No matter what my grade is, I will always be able to read and mess about with a pen in my own right. In fact, a heavy focus on my results compromises the pleasure I would ordinarily take from a book, which means that the results can't be worth that much in the greater scheme of things. After all, in years to come I won't be thinking about the grade I got for my analysis of Bapsi Sidwa's Ice Candy Man whenever I go to pick it up off the shelf - I will just be thinking about the novel itself and what an old friend it is. (Well, so I hope. ;)) Similarly, what will matter the most to you in the future is not the mark you get in your exams, but how much you enjoy music and what you can give to other people (and yourself) because of it.

One fear that recurs in my head is that I will be excluded from postgraduate study because I haven't won any prizes or achieved top marks. Then my therapist told me that there are several postgrads and postdoc students in the university - some of whom are specialists in their fields - who didn't do well on their undergraduate courses for one reason or another. Your exam results don't dictate your life. And even if your choices are constrained slightly by what you achieve (which is a possibility) there is no reason to suppose that you won't end up in a career more enjoyable and rewarding than the dream job you have built for yourself in your head. Recently I applied for a job as a learning support assistant at a special school for children with profound autism. The hourly pay was only just above the minimum wage. It isn't a graduate job. Very few qualifications are required - just GCSEs and patience. But if it interests me, what does that matter?

Regarding your admissions to the course next year, if you speak to your own therapist or the disability adviser they may be able to arrange for the rules to be waived in your case, as it seems odd that you would be penalised for trying your best and handing work in. Don't deliberately fail. Try your hardest and let the university authorities take care of the rest.

Finally, there is a quotation from the writings of St John of the Cross (a Spanish poet) that I always remember during exam time. "In the evening of life we will be judged on love alone." That involves what we are just as much as what we do. Test results do not matter much to the people whom we come into contact with every single day. Then what matters is just ourselves.

Love and prayers,

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:19 pm
by Spoon girl
Thank you all for your advice and encouragement. I wrote the following email to my personal tutor

Dear *lecturer*,
I've been meaning to write this for a while. As you know, I received an extension on my transcription in order to spend more time on all of my work. However, the transcription got put to the back of the pile until other things had gone in. It's never been my strong point but I didn't realise that I was going to find it quite this hard. I've now received another extension until this Thursday but have still not gotten any further with it. We received no tutorials or lectures on this and it is much harder than the transcriptions from first year. I have received help from friends but have still not grasped it. Would it be possible to resit this one in August once I've had the chance to get a tutor or perhaps even do an alternative assignment? The course itself was very interesting so I could write a lot about it, I just can't seem to get my head around this piece of work. How would I go about this? Do I just not hand it in or is there a procedure I need to follow?

Providing I am not penalised for not handing in the assignment then I will be able to sit it in august without being capped, where as had I handed it in and scraped a pass, I would have had to keep the grade. This assignment is causing me such immense stress at the moment that I have a total mind block on it. I've decided to look after my head, and hope that the personal tutor and the university can see that. Hopefully the fact the assignment was set unfairly will go in my favour.