Taking 6 classes was a mistake. That I admit now that it's far too late to do anything. I can HANDLE it but it's just not conducive to good thinking or good work. I shouldn't have done it. It's too late to do anything about it now though. Much more troubling has been my slide towards grade obsession from my once affirmed stance of Learning above all else. I've been corrupted by the system to the point where I'm selling out the joy of learning and accruing knowledge for what amounts to material gain (Grades aren't REALLY material but they are like academic currency...you use them to get the things that you want.) I was really frustrated by how poorly true learning is reflected in the grades that you recieve and so I dedicated myself to trying harder to earn grades that reflected my talent but in the process I somehow started to let the learning slip away until at this point I seem fixated on the little letter that shows up at the end of the semester and is supposed to encompass everything you did during the course of that class and how much you know about the subject and how good or bad you are as a person and whether you're going to heaven or to the burning depths of minimum wage hell where you will boil in a boiler room stoking coal into a filthy furnace for all eternity. Okay I'm exagerating at the end there. Slightly. In the process I've cheated. I don't mean cheated as in commited an act of academic dishonesty, no my morality is far too strict for that. I mean that I cheated myself. Cut corners, put things off until later, played a zero sum game of juggling assignments and focusing merely on the immediate outcome rather than the process or longterm gains. It was foolish and stupid and quite possibly immoral. The thing is that good grades and praise are ADDICTIVE. They are validation which I DESPERATLY need and they ARE useful in achieving future success as maddeningly frustratingly unfair as that may be. There needs to be a balance between idealistic love of knowledge and pragmatic seeking of grades. I just have no idea where such a balance might lie.
One thing's for sure, when I was sitting there in that class knowing I was going to hand in that ROTTEN essay I felt guilt like I haven't felt in a long long time. My stomach dropped, the world went cold and prickly and I felt about as nervous and vulnerable as I did during You-Can-Figure-It-Out. I'm not going to go through that again. This was a wakeup call and I'm going to change my ways next semester (this semester's already done for. I need to keep focusing on grades so I don't COMPLETELY let them slip). I'm going to focus on taking fewer and better classes, doing more and better work, and not worrying so much about the mark the instructor makes on my paper as compared to the mark that the learning makes on my psyche. I'm not sure how to change yet but I'll find a way. I didn't know how to lose weight and I am. I'll lose this materialistic view of grades and learning as well.
A few other points about the situation:
One of the reason that the paper wasn't very good was that I spent a lot of time last night typing out all that stuff that I simply HAD to say. I don't know how I feel about this. It was something that I really wanted to do but in order to get it done I had to sacrifice something else of value. Time is a limited resource but I need to figure out how I can balance my emotional need to express myself with my need to do good academic work. Or I need to admit to myself that right now journaling important parts of my psyche is more important than doing well in school and I need to accept that. I don't know, it was just a case of prioritizing and I'm not sure I made the right decision.
Two things I am happy about are that A) I didn't look at the sparknotes until after the class to check the plot point I thought I might have fucked up. At least I lived or died by my own work and didn't fall to relying on someone else. That I can take SOME solace in.
B) Even though I was under tremendous pressure and was extremely tired I didn't overeat. Instead of fueling up with empty calories and carbohydrates I made some coffee and took it with minimal milk and some non-calorie sweetener. This is the sort of decision I am going to have to make if I want to keep losing weight. One of my major problems in the past was that I'd justify eating crap because I was under pressure X or Y and I couldn't handle it without the food. The thing is that there's ALWAYS going to be SOME sort of pressure and I can't use that as an excuse. If I want I can allow myself one meal a week where I eat junk and use that whenever the pressure's greatest but I can't binge for weeks on end just because school's getting rough or I'm feeling down. It's too detremental to my health and my goals. Also I found a flavor of Balance Bar that tastes like a snickers when frozen. That's not so much a thing to be proud of but it does make me feel like I can stick to the diet better since I can now replace the peanut butter bars. Even if this semester has been learning anemic and poisoned by my anti-female rhetoric I can at least take solace in the fact that I made an improvement SOMEWHERE in my life. I'm not very happy at who I am right now but I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I guess living a good life requires constant vigilance and maintainence and tremendous focus. Okay. I can deal with that. I will learn from this experience, I will grow stronger, I will make better choices. No excuses and limited regrets. I'm 20 years old, it's unsurprising that there's room for improvement. Time to break out the metaphorical hammers and nails and reinforce the important sections of my life. I'll let the bad parts collapse themselves and be washed away by the rain.