Distinctly Over The Moon …

graduationThe final Exam Board marks for my Master’s were released by the University last week.

I’d already found out that my dissertation had gained a distinction (worth a third of the course marks) which for me was more than enough.

The other two-thirds was made up of six modules, most of which I sweated buckets over. I was going to be completely content with a Pass.

Reader, I got a Distinction. I know, crazy, huh?

Looking back over the last two years, each essay, each critical piece is interwoven with angst, MS symptoms, treatment and relapses. And that’s without guiding The Teenager through A levels and growing up. Plus dealing with a fussy cat.

Near the beginning of the course, I almost chucked the towel in, such was the extent to which it pushed my battered brain to almost impossible limits. This was totally out my remit but I figured I had given it a go, it didn’t work out. C’est la vie and all that.

After I had spoken to a tutor about how to withdraw from the course, I sat in my car and cried. Then I got angry. I should have been happy, now that the pressure was off. Maybe I could take up gardening or embroidery; something relaxing. But I felt a twist in my gut that hurt more than the brain-ache.

So I persevered. I’m not going to lie, I hated a lot of it, but this was offset with falling in love with literature all over again. During one of my relapses, I had found it impossible to read anything, so the joy of flicking through books, highlighting important points and soaking up the words was incredible.

Most of the essays were a nightmare and the critical elements drove me to distraction. As the course progressed, it felt like I had a fight on my hands against that most frustrating of MS symptoms, dodgy memory. Swiftly followed by fatigue, relapses, blah, blah. MS seemed determined to thwart me at every juncture.

It’s odd. I don’t fight back against MS – the whole ‘fighting back’ thing gets my hackles up; I’ve learned to live with it, adapt to it and get on with it. But the Master’s felt like a fight. Perhaps it’s pride, I’m not sure.

Anyway, my final essay had been handed in, many with time-extensions. People asked me what I would do when I graduated, which made me chortle. Probably nothing, apart from appreciate that I had done it, despite everything. I doubt I can fashion a career out of a Masters in Creative Writing. I’m quite happy in my job, bossing labourers around on building sites and working out how much a Porta-Loo will cost.

But, you know what? I have a germ of an idea for a novel.

Perhaps I’ll get that first sentence down on paper and see how it goes …

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26 thoughts on “Distinctly Over The Moon …

  1. Gail Taylor says:

    Congratulations ?
    That is fantastic news and incredibly well deserved xXx

  2. Effing brilliant.

    Tell me when you come down to earth again and don’t fall over

  3. Sarah loasby says:

    Well done! What a fantastic achievement! I work in Higher Education and I know just how much effort you had to put in to get a Distinction. You are amazing – to embark on the course alone is challenging, but having MS whilst studying makes it 100 times more difficult. I have PPMS and have been asked recently if I would like to study for a degree whist working full-time. I initially refused as I thought it would be too much (how would I keep my eyes open long enough to attend class, read books, write essays etc. especially after a long day at work?) However, you have seriously made me re-think my decision. If you can do it, why can’t I?
    I really hope you are able to carve out a new career that fulfils your hopes and dreams. Congratulations once again – you are a star!! xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so much, and … go for it!!
      I was so lucky that Student Services helped to keep my head above water, just when I felt I was drowning.
      Very good idea (as you probably know already) to apply for DSA, which will give you access to a lot of support. I don’t know where I would have been without a note-taker.
      Please let me know how you get on!

  4. Annie says:

    Many congratulations?What a fantastic achievement despite all the challenges you have faced. Well deserved…..celebrate ??…. and then …. write that novel ?

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thanks Annie!
      Yup, that novel. It keeps poking me in the ribs, demanding to be made into something more tangible.
      Once The Teenager is off to Uni and the house is quiet, hopefully then …

  5. Teresa McTernan says:

    WELL, WELL WELL DONE, that is a fantastic achievement for anyone let alone somebody with MS ready and waiting to bite you in the ass before, during and after any finished or half finished assignment. I would read a novel you wrote and I bet it would be a fun read…you’ve done it and you and the teenager must be proud…!xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      He is, in his own way!
      Novel could take a good few years to write, plus plenty of coffee and sitting staring into space in coffee shops, but it’s definitely something I’m thinking of doing …

  6. Chris Mountford says:

    Completing a degree course of any type is gruelling at the best of times and the best of health, so congratulations seems inadequate for your achieving a distinction in your masters. Well done, I’m proud for you and hope you’re very proud for yourself and of yourself…absolutely bloody brilliant. You are such an inspiration and a star! Big love and hearty congratulations.

    Ps; hope the teenager has recovered his equilibrium now?


    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much!!
      He’s feeling a lot better and he has a neurology appointment for next week, so hopefully everything will be cleared up and he can concentrate on all the plans he has for the summer 🙂

  7. Angela says:

    That’s amazing, congratulations!

  8. Judy says:

    Congratulations, Stumbling!!! Well done!!! You’ve done it and gained TWO Distinctions no less, despite all that murderous STUFF happening… Applause and a chilling out icon (which I can’t find on this computer). Be well.

  9. Rachael McKenzie says:

    Many felicitations, Barbara! I’m so pleased for you! When’s your graduation ceremony? x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you! It’s the beginning of July. Working myself into a slight state of panic as the thought of walking across the stage without tripping over is worrying!

  10. Jenny says:

    Huge congratulations ? very very well done!!!

  11. Val says:

    Congratulations! So proud of you – as others have posted you are an inspiration. Fingers xed for teenagers neurology appt am sure all will be well and good luck with feet on graduation day! Xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I’m so overwhelmed with all the lovely comments – you guys are amazing and keep me company through everything. I don’t know what I would do without your support!

  12. Carina says:

    Congratulations! You certainly deserve it!

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