May 7th, 2004


Troubled times they've come

I now have officially only two more assignments to turn in before I graduate, and all it cost me was a little bit of my soul.

This policy paper was doomed from the begining, poor topic selection and a complete lack of motivation combined in one noxious cocktail that left me at my computer for the last 24+ hours churning out crappy sentences and finding pages of references in an aimless wandering through an intellectual wasteland so devoid of life that I thought I could smell agent orange on the wind.

It's not a good paper. That doesn't matter all that much in the scheme of things. This is one of those professors who wants to give me an A. I know that. I also know that according to the grading scheme all I need to get is an 82.5 on the paper to get that grade. I think it's good enough to justify that grade, although it's also bad enough to be in the 70's without my complaining.

What I regret is letting down someone who I think believed in me. It's not a good paper. It should have been one. If this were a year ago it would have been one. I just don't care anymore, I'm past my due date as a non-creative academic student, at least for the time being.

This professor and I had one of the most bizzare email correspondances ever yesterday. If anyone either doubts my ability to be utterly weird to authority figures or is just interested in how a conversation can meander to include Mackeral, Sinn Fein, and Herve Villechaiz, I may post it behind an LJ-cut at some point. I know that she thought I'd write a good paper, and I didn't. That's not a happy thing.

On the other hand I did put in a whole lot of work in one of those fitful awful nights where before 11 you're so drained that you start to disassociate from your mind and it's like living in another world almost. One of those torturous nights where the only thing that keeps you awake and alert is the fact that it will end and you will be done with this and the world will return to normal in a few days.

I wore my brain down to the nub writing this 29 page monster (including title page and references.) I slept only briefly and fitfully, from around 2:00 AM to 4:30 in guilty little snippets of thrashing repose. Those are weird times, deciding how to balance sleep with the waning grains of sand in the hourglass. Weighing the pros and cons of masturbation as just another tool in your mood management arsenel ("Well, it will release some of this tension and help me get a few minutes of shuteye. Yeah, but what if I oversleep because of it, I don't want too big an orgasm. You could try thinking of baseball at the last minute. I don't think Mike Piazza's record is all that spectacular, I mean he was an incredible hitting catcher but somehow the 350s just seems kind of...lame at this juncture. Yes but it's never been done before and he was the LAST pick in the draft. Focus! What if I pictured naked women playing baseball? That would be hot, I have that DVD of nude women playing football but I'd have to actually go get that and it's not even tackle. Nude baseball playing women couldn't slide though, could they? I mean they'd get skin abrasions and that wouldn't look great. Maybe if they were wearing like crotchless chaps? FOCUS.")

It's a strange world. Your eyes are getting weary, your fingers are getting faster, you're shoving chocolate and sugar down your throat to keep your blood full of glucose and sucking down so much soda and coffee that your urine will be clear for days. It's like another world there at 4 AM when you're alone and typing and so weary that you can feel your bones sinking through your flesh, your skeleton trying to recline with or without the help of your muscles.

It's not like 4 am on a street corner or 4 am at a party. It's a different kind of early morning. It makes you think that there is more than one kind of every hour of the day. You have your glorious sunny noons when time stands still and the pollen lays thick in the air like fairy dust, then your drab dry noons where you're working in a hot office under yellow light and waiting for 5 o'clock. You have your dreamy rocking 4 AMs where you feel high on life and twice as pretty as you did at 11:00 PM, and your nightmare world 4 AMS where every tic of the clock is another step closer to some kind of doom. There are only 24 hours in a day but there is the potential for more than 24 kinds of hours. I believe that.

It didn't come together in the end. Sure I polished out the most egregious errors and grammatical/factual faux pas but it doesn't fundementally make sense. It meanders and is uneven and and it's a load of crap. The question is is it good enough to get the job done. I wish I'd had more time, the extra hour we were SUPPOSED to have would have probably been enough. AS it was I handed it in 15 minutes early because the computer lab clocks were set ahead. I'm not sure why that was.

The first wave of major papers is done and I'm still standing. I got it in, it's crap but I got it in. Even if the unthinkable happens, she gives me a 0, and I fail the class, I will at least know that I did so on my own terms and my own merit or lack thereof.

Now it's time for the next paper which is even more important and will be more difficult. I need to start working on it TOMORROW and put in 3 and a half solid days of study and writing to have a chance at a decent grade in that class.

The thing is that the grades don't matter so much to me anymore. Even if I get an A- average (and since I think I'm a lock for an A in at least one class with a very solid shot at one in this class that seems like a distinct possibility) I will graduate with a 3.8 and be okay.

Grades aren't all that important to me. They are a fallback, an opportunity for employment in something I probably won't want to do if my true dreams fall through.

I regret writing the bad paper but I can't regret this semester. I grew so much and changed in so many positive ways even if there were setbacks and confusions and of course that damned torment, the nature of which I do not need to elaborate on for those who have kept up.

Transitions are rough. As last night turned to day, the deadline passed, and I survived so will I survive this transformative point in my life.
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