Monday, May 16, 2011

Exams aka Period of increased coffee consumption

For the past couple of weeks, I have been metaphorically drilling holes in my brain to stuff in the enormous amount of info that is needed to write my exams. My first one is on the 19th, thereafter they are nicely spaced until the end. Still doesn't make a difference to the amount of work I have to study.

This is not going to be one those instances where I gush about how lucky I am to be getting an education, how hard I've worked to get here. Nope this where I tell you that THIS is the worst type of self- inflicted torture that you can put yourself through. Never mind "Off with your head" back in the middle ages just introduce tertiary exams as capital punishment and it would've put the fear of God into them. Not a loaf of bread would ever have been stolen again.

In my house during the day the T.V , radio, laundry and my grandmother all compete to see who can be the loudest. Not to mention we live in the middle of a very active apple farm so add motorbikes and tractors to the mix, all making it impossible to study during the day. So I have been studying through the night then sleeping during the day. Talk about being out of the loop- my life right now is a surreal haze where I travel from my bed to my desk and back again. It is really difficult to live with people that have not been through this- both my parents dropped out of university. My mom has been extremely supportive, making little snacks to see me through the night. But generally no one gets the gravity of what this means for me. It's not just a little spelling test I'm doing next week.

At the same time there is a lot pressure for me not only to get this degree but to do really, really well. There is no plan B...I HAVE to get it. The job climate in South Africa is such that u don't just need tertiary education to succeed, you need a good tertiary education, something different.

And of course their are also personal reasons- if I ever decide to return to America I would be better off with a college education. Before I can even think of applying for a visa to work in London again I will probably need TWO degrees and A LOT of work experience before they even consider my application. I need a degree to work in Japan.

Then there are the very personal reasons. Psychologists told my Mom I would never be able to go to school. At school they said my best shot in life was to go to trade school, do something very simple to "see me through". I already blew them all away by surviving overseas all by myself for three years, now it's time to prove to everyone that I actually have brains. Overall education is something that I value highly and my life is already better because of it.

But oh, it is hard, back breaking hard. It's hard because studying is something that doesn't come naturally to me, it's hard because of the memory loss I have from the drugs, it's hard to work through the pain of my BIH and it's hard because the degree I picked is one of the hardest!. WTF was I thinking?.

I am actually writing this as a way of avoiding the two inch textbook that has been calling my name for the last half hour. I have already been up all night. The night before last my brain floured and nothing else seemed to go in, I snapped. I hated my degree, I hated my university, I swore to kill my professors if I ever met any of them. I hated my textbook, I hated my computer, I even hated the damn chair I was sitting on!. Right now in the middle of the climb my dreams feel so far away and all I'm seeing is paper with endless words printed on them.

Have any of you done or attempted to do a degree, or even go to college?. Any study advice/ drugs I can take?.

Tell me it's going to be over soon!.


One fried brain
Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!


  1. Well the one good thing about naysayers...its always so much fun to prove them wrong! I cant believe anyone could be so horrible as to tell you to "do something simple to see you through"- you are so strong and have already achieved so much- now blow them away with your degree! I am also studying this year part time through Unisa from Semester 2, and am very excited (but nervous!) to be learning again! We will have to go for coffee so you can fill me in on how you cope. Good luck and I know you will ace your exams! x

  2. I don't have any advice to help you get through other than write it down. Things seem to be easier for me to remember once I write them.

    But I can totally be a cheerleader and tell you how proud I am that you are making this step!! Go Stephi go! You can do it!

    Don't over do it though. Take time to rest.

  3. College was a long time ago for me, almost twenty years. And I was a lot healthier. Even then, it was hard. I can't imagine doing it with health struggles.

    My daughter is in college now. It's been hard for me to watch her because it's been so much work and has gotten her really down sometimes.

    I'm sorry it sucks right now. But I hope you are incredibly proud of yourself for showing those people that they underestimated you. Way to go -- you can do it!

  4. Hang in there and just take "a day at a time." School/work is extremely stressful for anyone who has chronic med. issues on top of mood disorders. You need to get as much sleep as you can, because it sounds like you're body/psyche are just being overwhelmed with life, esp. school. Play with your furbaby and vent to whomever will listen to you, like us, your friends and readers, Stephi.