No more panic over deadlines. No more silly pieces of set work that will probably never be looked at again. No writing utter crap (that let’s be honest the tutors don’t ever want to read).
I am free! Hurrah!
And this is my conclusion of the last three years. I will have to go back to when I was in fast track or maybe even before that. OK I’ll go as far as my first interaction with university.
When I applied, I applied to go through a fast track route – it sort of works as a foundation year squashed into six weeks – this would help me get onto the degree I wanted. However, I was asked to write a creative and critical piece by some date. Now, looking at my application you can tell I am a little bit of an idiot. I did sciences in college and did not do well. Last time I had to write anything critically was GCSE which was a long, long, long time ago. Also I don’t have an analytical bone in my body. What I wrote, and what they had asked for were different. I wrote the critical piece like I was reviewing it, rather than analytically dissecting it. Which led to doubt if I should be allowed onto the course I wanted. It was suggested in an interview with one of the soon to be tutors that maybe I should look into joint honours instead. Well if I know anything it’s that if I am not analytical enough for creative writing… No way in hell would I survive doing a literature degree. I stuck to my guns and asked for a chance to at least try. I love writing, I may not be very good at it but I love it. I was allowed on the course in the end. Fast track was the first hurdle.
Fast track was a six week course of assessments and this is everything you need to know… GO! we had reflective assessments due in next day, critical pieces for next week, you should be reading this, or that within just a couple of days. Presentations that needed to be set up and rehearsed within a week. Oh my god something I have learned about myself.
At this point I had not started pole yet. But within these last three years I have discovered that speaking like a presentation in front of an audience or camera is a no go operation. I freeze, my mind goes blank, all I hear is my heart beating, all I see are eyes staring at me, and all my brain can think about “shit get out of there as quick as possible!! Abort abort!!” and thats when my presentation goes from – this is what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, how did it turn out this way, what we can learn from this – to – hello, I’m me, this is the title of my presentation, here are my slides, BYE! – then I bail.
Fast track was where I learned this part of myself. I was nervous at the idea and then I got up to speak and everything went down hill from there. I will admit the only reason I got through the fast track presentation and then onto the degree was because of my fast track tutor. A bulldozer probably wouldn’t stop that woman if she thought one of her students was struggling somewhere. She’d sit you down and then work through the complication in understanding with you. She didn’t spoon feed information by any stretch of the imagination. But her feedback was definitely helpful. She supported me through fast track which got me through to my degree course.
This was a nervous beginning for me. We were each assigned to a personal tutor and given expectations in the first week. Which if I’m honest was overwhelming. I already knew my limitations with reading – I read quite slowly – I don’t have an analytical bone in my body – and I was also aware that my grammar would be a problem.
This was also around the time I found my pole classes. I debated between trampolining or pole fitness as at the time I had always wanted to try something acrobatic. Somewhere in my debate with myself I almost decided not to try any of it because of an injury that had been a problem for a couple of years. On the other hand I ignored my injury because the doctors initially put me on naproxen which is practically lethal, and it wasn’t working but I didn’t want this injury to control me so I went for pole fitness. Best decision I ever made.
Through the year I was consistently reading feedback that I have an issue with grammar. Sentence structure is bad. This is fine but pointing out that it’s bad, and not expanding on that problem is not helpful. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, and no I’m not blaming anyone for my problem. But really? Anyone would get frustrated at a problem being constantly pointed at and no explanation given as to how, or why it’s a problem. I did ask a tutor if he could explain it, and he said he wouldn’t be able to help me unless I pointed it out. So, I asked him if he could recommend a text that I could read to help me. Nope. I then searched for friends who might be able to help me. Although they said the examples of text I gave them made them say I was fine… I started reading a book by David Crystal, Rediscover Grammar. This was also unhelpful as David Crystal focuses on the spoken language rather than written. So… Nothing right now was helping.
I didn’t do too badly in the end of the year, so it was a problem I could ignore for a bit.
Second year went on the same as the first. However, there was one tutor who was willing to help me. He sat me down and discussed the feedback I had received on some of my assessments during the beginning of second year. He also noticed my other struggles as well which he talked through with me.
This ended up being the opposite of my personal tutor who always seemed unsure of what to say to me. I would bring up difficulties within a certain module with one of my tutors and I would be advised to just have one to ones with those tutors.
Another issue I had with this year was when I established my misunderstanding of something. One tutor found appropriate to feedback – you do understand it, you do know what’s happening – once again, that is frustrating, not helpful.
This year just literally went down hill from anywhere the down hill falling occurred. I lost confidence in the tutors after they began to panic about my grades. The same problems that I had had for the three years was only now beginning to show up on their – shit they haven’t improved – radar.
I probably should have cared more, I probably should have joined on to that panic wagon and tried harder. It’s not like I didn’t try don’t get me wrong, I just discovered due to events at home that university is not the be all and end all. If I want to continue writing I will. If I have anywhere that could improve hopefully there will be someone out there to help me.
This isn’t a post to say “it’s a bad university”. It is more a post that from my experiences I want to say “university probably just wasn’t for me”. I had considered a masters but I am definitely not smart enough for that. Plus the tutors probably wouldn’t allow me on the course. It was an experience worth trying, but I only discovered that I should probably try other methods for learning.
Now that it’s over I have every intention of learning Japanese and calligraphy along side my writing, pole, and poochies.
I’ll have more frequent posts from now on.