How many years has it taken me to realise that results are the product of the effort you put in, that being a ‘jobsworth’ is counter productive when it comes to studying. You may tick the boxes, but if you know you haven’t got your head around a thing then you know soon enough where you grades will fall.
I can be honest and proud of what I know I can achieve now having recovered from marks at times that got close to ‘fail’. I now know why I fail at the opposite end, falling a few marks short of a distinction. It is down to persistence and effort right at the end.
Reaching such heights did I suffer from vertigo at the end? Do I go into self-destruct mode? Sometimes.
Having ‘finished’ with a few days to spare I went off the boil, I even ‘celebrated’ what I felt was more than good enough. But I held back from the ultimate test – reading out the essay, recording this and then listening back as objectively as I could. Rather, I ‘looked through it’ and noticed the odd glitch and one need for a reference and then a loose thread, a knot badly tied – that would need take time and effort. Like spotting a mistake in a tapestry once it is finished and knowing that the only answer is to flip the think over, carefully cut out the offending threads, then with huge care stitch in something that would fit better.
Rather than doing this, having mentally ‘put the thing in the post’ I went out. Coming home that evening I very nearly forget even to submit the thing before the 12.00 midnight deadline.
Two marks short of a distinction.
Of course, I should be adequately satisfied with the result. I’m not because seeing what the examiners picked up I can only curse, as a few simple fixes – a sentence that wasn’t a sentence, a turn of phrase that made sense to me but no one else … a reference that was blatantly missing that could so easily have been added as I’d already cited the book often. These might have added 1 1/2 marks … then, to have stayed home, unpicked and re-written a thought THAT would have added 3 to 5 marks.
So, if the personal satisfaction of achieving a distinction remains illusive I have only myself to blame. The issue of course is that any and all writing I may do if it doesn’t seek to attain, and attain such a standard will continue to be the differentiation between a student and ‘scholar’, an amateur and an academic, a wannabe author and someone who is published or produced.
On the one hand I ‘suffer’ as a perfectionist, on the other I hold back from committing and sticking to a goal. I use the artist’s excuse that you can overdraw, overpaint and add too much and destroy a thing. This isn’t the case with writing. It may spoil the fun of constructing a piece of writing by putting yourself through the pain, but it is the mental pain, and therefore the time and effort, that is required at this level.