That was it then – the first exam period I’ve lived through since I sat my nursing finals in 1985.
I’m quite surprised to find I did live through it; there were days when I thought I would just STOP and give it all up. It didn’t help that the black dog is bigger and blacker and doggier than ever at this time of year but to be honest he mostly kept his place and barely got anywhere near dragging me into the depths, it was more the physical illness which almost drowned me.
No-one tells you about the sheer exhaustion of exams in January; submission dates two days after the New Year and then throughout the month culminating in exams. I only had one exam but working full-time; a round of family commitments (great fun and much enjoyed); the flu and attendant infections, and then fear of failure cut through the joy of learning.
And there we have it; the joy of learning. And breeeeathe!
Why did you begin your course of study? Whatever subject and stage; what makes you keep going? I know I’m in a different place to most of you; post-grad, fully employed and a good thirty years older but I wonder if we start out in this new year; this new chapter on the same journey. I fully expect to be facing at least one resit in the summer and I find myself excited at the opportunity to have some time in the sunshine to learn in full the things I was not able to this winter.
I imagine now that in the summer I will be freer of other restrictions and can just take pleasure in the joy of learning. It won’t be like that of course; work will still be full on; there will still be family commitments to meet and enjoy and there will be semester two assignments to complete. So, what have I learned?
To be better organised; to be more prepared and just to embrace the joy of learning without fear of failure. I’ve learned so much about myself; my expectations of what taking on this course would be like were all topsy-turvy to what it has really been like. Having been to watch “The Darkest Hour” to celebrate finishing my exams, I think it’s right to settle on the following and keep it in my mind always: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.
Next week the new semester begins with hope and the joy of more of learning; even though that may include learning again what has already been.