Priorities are complicated. I promised myself that I would work as hard as I could in the final year of my degree, because I wanted to know that I had done my best to get the desired result. As so often happens in life, it wasn’t that simple.
It’s not about what you’re prepared to do; it’s about what you’re prepared to give up and what you’re prepared to become. I was prepared to work hard when I was tired, to spend Saturdays chained to my desk, and certainly to bury myself in revision at the end. But that’s all.
There were things I was not prepared to do for the sake of educational status:
I was not prepared to become a bad friend.
I was not prepared to become a bad teacher and conductor.
I was not prepared to stop writing, or even significantly reduce the amount of time I spent writing.
I was not prepared to wear myself down until I lost my creative spark and enthusiasm.
I was not prepared to lose sight of the important things in life.
I came a little too close to this towards the end…
The result of this year’s work, as well as the previous four years’ work, depends on the result of yesterday’s three-hour exam. That pressure, combined with my views on exams in general, got to me at times. I would have felt ‘unprepared’ whatever, and was almost sick with nerves. However, I was as well-prepared as possible – I gave it what I was willing to give at every stage. Happily, the exam couldn’t have gone any better!
Across this last module I was trying to find a balance between ‘doing my best’ with my OU work, and not doing it at the expense of other parts of my life. It’s possible that when I receive my degree I’ll discover ‘you can’t have it all’ – or I might manage to pull it off. Either way, I won’t regret this year. I’ve learnt what’s important to me and what isn’t, and how far I’m prepared to go to achieve my goals.