Thursday, 20 November 2014

A Little Failure

Starting Sixth Form College was a new experience. Hardly anyone in my classes had known me before, my classes were half an hour longer (Now lectures have reverted to 50 minutes, for which I am thankful!) and I could barely recognize many of my old classmates because they were wearing completely different headscarves.

Classes were going well. In Further Maths, we tackled C1 (Or, what I call, Enhanced GCSE), the splendidocious C2, and the devillish D1. In Physics, we looked at things you can't really see with the naked eye, or even eyes with glasses on. English Language was, of course, very language-y and we were building up to the coursework element of the course. And then there was Critical Thinking, where we had to think.

This being Sixth Form, from the first minute on we were being prepared for exams. Going through work on the syllabus, doing mock exams, and so forth. The Mocks passed and, boringly, I got As and a Physical B.

The solution to this was simple: work on Physics a bit more, and all else could happily take the hit. The January season of exams rode into play, and it was all exam rooms and revision and the after-exam questions of "What did you get for Question 4?" (The answer to this question is is "Either a correct or incorrect answer,"). I walked out of D1 thinking that I had royally screwed up the final question, the most significant question on that paper. I walked out of Physics unsure. My other papers I walked out on feeling fairly confident. 

Cue six weeks time for results day, giving the examiners time to read the scrawls of plenty of silly students. I could hardly wait to log in to the student network and find my results.

I wanted to hide in my room until the end of Time (and it hadn't even started yet). Or until I became a zombie and so didn't care any more.

I forced myself out of my room and down the stairs. Moth was there, wanting to know how I did. I said I got As. I couldn't force the rest of the words out that the last exam had gone really really very quite badly.

The words loosened a little bit as I took the twenty minute walk to college. I kept on telling myself that I had to face up to it. I still had solitude when I arrived at English, my first class of the day. However, it soon became a babble of excited students going "What did you get?" "How did you do?" and feeling proud of their Bs and Cs. I held back tears as I bluntly told the others about the 4 As and the other one.

Reactions generally went along the lines of "WTF happened there?!" Gradually over the day the upset cleared and my normal state of emotional indifference returned.

Walking to Critical Thinking that day was tough. I was very reluctant to go, but I told myself I had to. At the beginning of the class everyone was talking about their results. Even the teacher was perplexed at my result.

Normal life soon pervaded. The deadline for paying for resits was about a week afterwards. I went up to the Finance desk while the area was not very full. The lady on the desk recognised me as my mother's daughter - Moth being a member of staff there at the time. And because of that, I ended up going to speak to another lady at a different desk and having to wait in the now growing queue for the finance office. So I could get a £1.10 discount which promptly went towards a bottle of Sprite in the shop.

I accepted it all, got obsessed with the xkcd Time (which had started not long afterwards), and prepared for the resit and the other Critical Thinking exam with vigilance, going to extra sessions and so on. I made sure to ensure I was prepared for the other exam or I'd have to resit that in a year's time due to the abolishing of the January exams. I tackled those papers with determination.

The resit relented a C. The other paper - which was on arguing - didn't argue and handed away an A.

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