I finished my Finals. Yes, gentle reader, I did. It took a week, which is to say it took six months, which is to say it took three years, which is to say I read for the Final Honours School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and I did it and I am still here. I think I can also say, without reservation, that my week of exams - eight days, actually, with exams on every day except Sunday - was the hardest thing I have ever done, bar none. By the end of Wednesday, I was somewhere else in my head, I think; I was about the last person to be let out of the East School, and then I was wandering around the halls in Exam Schools and feeling very lost, until they shepherded me through to the back to the finishers' exit, and in this sort of sea of numbness and exhaustion, I was thinking, it's pouring with rain. What if nobody came?
Well, I went outside into the pouring rain - and everyone
came. I won't name them all for fear of forgetting anyone, but oh, I was standing in a circle of about twelve people, in my bedraggled sub fusc with my jaunty red carnation, and they covered me with confetti and glitter and balloons and kisses and congratulations and took me home through the rain while I tried very hard not to cry. Even jacinthsong
, who had exams at the same time as I did, came running round to see me. It's all a blur now, really; I was so
tired, and so ready to just curl up and die, and it was probably one of the nicest moments of my life. I mean... yes. There's an achievement, right there, to go with the PPE. I made friends here. I was afraid I wouldn't. But those few seconds where it was all over, and people came
- oh, god, it's amazing I didn't just burst into tears on the spot, rather than just sniffling through the drizzle.
My exams themselves probably deserve some sort of record, don't they? ( Politics in South Asia; Philosophy of Mind; Aesthetics; International Relations in the Era of the Cold War )
In sum, I'm not sure what I think of the whole thing. I've seen other people writing about how they wish they'd done themselves better justice in their exams, and I don't what it says about me, but I don't think that: I was never afraid of not doing myself justice, I was afraid of not writing anything, of just failing procedurally at sitting still for three hours and writing three essays, eight times. Because I did manage to do this, it counts as a win. (And, yes, a win: twenty-four essays in eight days at an average of five sides each - that's a win.) I would like a 2:1. I would like that very much. Because my essays were uninspiring all, I'm not entirely convinced this will happen. But I will not get a first, and I'm happy about this. Because, perhaps I am, or was, capable - perhaps if I'd worked harder over the three years. But if I had done that, no one would have met me outside of Exam Schools. I would have worked, and not met people and not learned to drink good coffee and not been in plays; I wouldn't have gone running in the Parks and drifted down the river on summer afternoons; I wouldn't have been on protests or dressed up and gone dancing or been Cerberus Triarch or, indeed, been happy. In short, a first would have come at too high a price.
And, yes, of course, that's something else that has come out of all this. I've realised how much I rely on my friends here, and how lucky I am to have them: over the last month or so, jacinthsong
has been the other half of my brain, keeping me amused and horrified and calm and happy, and between us, were kept sane by shimgray
, who, after a point, learnt to say, "You are absolutely right in every particular, and would you like another cup of tea?" as a response to just about everything either of us said. (Worryingly, this then changed to "You are right in every particular, please don't hurt me" and then, finally, "I can has freedom of will nao?", while all the while he was having clothes piled on him and having his feet insultingly drawn on in indelible green highlighter.) I don't think Hallmark have much demand for cards containing the words "I love you and I'm sorry for all the abuse and can we decree the last three weeks of your life to have administratively Not Happened", but it probably won't hurt to look. I am looking forward, very much, to being a real person again. Someone who does not emotionally overreact to everything, someone who does not need to be physically coaxed out of bed in the morning, someone who does not think everything in the world is hysterically funny or hysterically upsetting, someone who eats and sleeps and does not break at the touch. In fact, myself.
Where was I? Wednesday afternoon, I was taken home and fed strawberries in sparkling pink wine, and I was so dizzy and tired and happy that I demanded everyone else be my higher cognitive function and make my decisions for me; they decided for me that I should be taken to the pub and further fed chips, profiteroles and gin. And so it transpired. Sitting around a big table, we started to muse on what will happen when absinthe_shadow
is Queen of Everything, and I was just... happy. I still am. I fell asleep tragically early, and woke up yesterday to glorious sunshine. We were going to go punting (which I tearfully, euphorically, realised I could do), but the water was too high, so we ended up going for a picnic in the Parks instead, which featured fruit and vodka and the G2 crossword and triptogenetica
and I cheerfully singing the Canadian national anthem apropos of nothing at all. It was delightful.
And that, I guess, is that. A few things I ought to mention:
-I now know what I'm doing next year. I still want, very much, to be a lawyer. So, after some kerfuffling, I got a place on the GDL here in Oxford, and here I'll stay, for one year definitely, and quite likely two. It's not quite confirmed - it's an offer condtional on a 2:1 - but if all goes well, yes. I'm going to spend the summer applying for training contracts and house-hunting.
(In fact, if anyone knows of someone looking for a housemate in East Oxford, please tell me. I never lived out, so I have no idea how to start looking.)
Needless to say, I am very pleased about this. I don't want to leave this place just yet. I have loved, and love, it here too much - and now I have ties here. You're not getting rid of me that easily.
-This summer, however, is quite interesting. As it stands, the plan is for me to be here, meeting people out of Finals, applying for training contracts, doing OULES, for the next three weeks or so. If I get vac res, and I do hope I do, I will be living in this flat until June 21st or round about. Following which, I'm going home - I haven't seen my parents for a long time, and it will be nice to be back, if even for a while, and I need to ring the bookshop and ask them nicely to give me work.
On July 7th - hopefully! - the PPE results will be published. I want very much to be in Oxford for this. So, I am coming down, to see my results (ohgod, I will be a nervous wreck, I know it), to see shimgray
(and anyone else who is around), and sticking around a day or so. Because on July 10th, at three o'clock in the morning, I am going from Oxford to San Francisco to spend a week with likethesun2
and I am ridiculously excited about this. I come back again, via Oxford, go home and this time stay there for quite some time - probably through August, with gaps while I go visiting and possibily more travelling, until I return in September.
...there. That's my life. I'm happy with it. In the long term, I'm going to be a lawyer; in the medium term, I'm going to California; in the short term, jacinthsong
finishes her Finals tomorrow and the_acrobat
is coming to visit, and I am very happy about both these things; right now, I'm going to do my laundry.
(And, also? Pretty soon, hopefully, if I haven't failed everything, I'm going to have a degree in PPE from Oxford. I'm happy, and lucky, and this is what I look like now