What Have I Done?

scooby snackWell, my MS-versary passed without major incident. I ended a very pleasant evening out still talking fairly intelligently to my friends rather than random trees or street signs (it has been known).

Life was looking good. I was in a good place, feeling, um, good.

Until an email pinged on my phone. A weighty document from the university, detailing a reading list, term dates, rules, regulations, how to get a student ID card (yay!) and plagiarism warnings.


Have I been a bit too hasty in signing up for an MA? Will my brain have the last laugh? I scanned the book list, the phrases ‘developing effective analysis and argument’, ‘critical thinking skills’, ‘Harvard referencing’ leaping out at me. Assignments include a 6,000 word novel chapter, a 3,000 short story and a 10,000 word dissertation.

Perhaps my expectations have been a little on the low-expectation side. I imagined Creative Writing to be, well, creative and artistic. I had a vision of myself scribbling important thoughts in a battered notebook with a lilac pen. I would be sitting in a dingy cafe wearing fingerless gloves and studenty clothes. Me and The Teenager would cook beans on toast and lentil curry on alternate nights, warmed by the glow of our last candle. Perhaps we would visit the market at the end of the day to pick up plums and turnips that had fallen on the floor.

The last time I critically analysed anything, it was a letter from my neurologist detailing the sorry state of my brain, and even then I had to Google the long words. This course would be a whole different brain-game. Am I really up to it?

In a bid to calm down, I listened to my ‘You Are Intelligent and You Can Do It!’ relaxation thingie. Unfortunately this left me more stressed as I couldn’t count down my Stairway To Success without losing track of where I was. And when the American voice told me I was a worthy and special being, all I heard was ‘you are a special bean’. I snorted with laughter and missed the next bit about creating compartments in my mind where I could store important information. Gah.

In a fit of optimism,  I ordered everything from my reading list and I have a pot of freshly-sharpened pencils on my desk. Am I ready for September? About as ready as I was for my lumbar puncture….

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8 thoughts on “What Have I Done?

  1. Julie says:

    You don’t have to believe what your jittery nerves tell you. Send them packing and enjoy the next few months, you know – sleep, time to stop and eat – that sort of thing!

    And, the idea of uni is to learn. You are not expected to arrive in September already blessed with a ton of knowledge and ready to write assignments immediately. Your tutors will teach, coach and advise you first. They are there for you and want you to succeed.

    Perhaps you could busy your thoughts with the reasons why you chose to enroll on this course and what you would like to do when you have passed, which obviously you will, and that might help you feel optimistic instead of nervous.

    I am excited for you, I hope you enjoy it. x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      A very, very good point, about not being expected to know everything before the course starts. Totally escaped me, so thank you!!
      It’s weird, but I’ve always wanted to write and now MS has pushed me in that direction, I wanted to see how far I could take it. And also, am hoping to keep my mind busy and stretched. Fingers crossed!

  2. you can do this!! it is a lot of work but writing comes across as something you are very passionate about

    i never had a lumbar puncture, neuro didnt think it was needed and that it was a clear cut case of what was wrong, (and a bit more risky for having a bleeding disorder).

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much, such a lovely thing to say!
      My lumbar puncture was a bit of a shock. I think they only called me in for an MRI to shut me up and send me back home again. But the minute the MRI was taken, they whisked me off for the lumbar puncture, so they must have seen something. To cut a long story short, it was quite possibly the most painful procedure I have ever had, easily beating the 24 hour labour I had with The Teenager, lol.

  3. StarGzrBlog says:

    “…the American voice told me I was a worthy and special being, all I heard was …” Hey, I resemble that remark 🙂 Ha!

    I say, instead of “What Have I Done?”, it’s more like “Well Done!!” Go get ’em, “bean”!

  4. John says:

    I am sure you will cope with the workload. Today’s quote on my calendar says “I see no virtues where I smell no sweat”. Someone called Francis Quarles, 17th-century British poet said that. I think it is a posh way of saying no gain without pain. Your obvious flair and love of literature will see you through. The more you achieve the more you will want to achieve. Good luck.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      That’s a lovely comment, thank you!
      Funnily enough, the first of my reading list books arrived today. Some, ahem, light summer reading! Plus my highlighters that I ordered from Ocado, along with all the usual food. Starting to get a little excited 🙂

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