Category Archives: Masters Degree

be careful what you wish for…

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Graham Cooke refers to them as ‘grace-growers’. Others might call them irritants. A thorn in the side might be apt. I refer to those people who basically get under your skin and brings out the most horrible parts of your self- and if you’re like me I just sit in the corner, saying Lord have mercy on me, because I want to smash their face in. (Sorry)images-1.jpeg

I have been on three residentials for my Masters Programme and I have allowed Andrea to totally intimidate me. My issue not hers.

The lecturer sat us together as we are both serving Head teachers. However, I am only really a pretend Head Teacher because I co-own the school. She on the other hand is a ‘proper’ one. She, like me, is fairly strong-willed and opinionated. However, unlike me, she would often just mutter negative things under her breath. I HATE THAT. Either speak up or shut up. I HATE people that don’t have the balls to own their stuff. I REALLY HATE IT.

However, she was an extremely smooth operator and clever cookie and spoke just enough, showing off her ball-breaking style, and in her own words, ‘I’m really hard-core.”

Weekend 1, day 1, I held my own with her. When we disagreed I could justify my stance. By the end of day 2 I had retreated in to myself, living in fear that everyone would find out what a fraud I was, and that even though I had opinions, I had no substance. By day 3, she called in sick with food poisoning and my relief was palpable. The men were in awe of her, the lecturer seemed to hang on her every word… I on the other hand, was caught in that, I wish I was as strong as you, married with I think you are really not a very nice person and I don’t want to be that kind of leader.

Weekend 2, she was absent. (School couldn’t possibly do without her). Weekend 3 she returned with gusto. I tried to make conversation. I felt like I was far too common and unimportant for her. I shrivelled before my own eyes. I couldn’t understand why everyone else seemed to think she was so amazing. (including myself at times).

It was clear she was having a hard time at work and was very tearful. (She had been head hunted for a prestigious school and her current bosses were really upset she was going and were making her life a misery…) They had bad-mouthed her and she was suing them for 2 years salary, she was doing blah, blah, blah…. And then my self-loathing creeps in- why am I so judgemental? why can’t I be more supportive? why am I always so jealous? why don’t you believe her? why do you resent someone else’s success?

This battle in my mind was raging for two days.

At the end of the second day, she went home. She had been suspended from her post for serious mis-conduct. My colleagues all took the stance she was being bullied and vilified… except 1. In a tongue loosened by alcohol, someone else let it slip that may be I wasn’t alone in my feelings.

I had spent all this time, wishing I was more like her… more knowledgeable, strong like her, more gutsy… and actually just may be the facade was as false as my own one is. Sometimes you really do have to be careful what you wish for! Unknown.jpeg

 

 

 

around the corner…

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Following on from my holiday moments, I was away at the weekend on a study residential. It is located in a beautiful hotel and setting. The previous two times, my only wondering has been from the car park to the reception. As this was my last one, and following my missed moments in France, I thought I would see what I could find. IMG_2550.JPG

I stirred myself in to going out for a work… a comfy sofa and cross-stitch was far more appealing- but I decided that I really should not be so lazy all the time.

I have travelled to a variety of countries, but Im not really an explorer. I always travelled with intention- to visit someone, work in a project, do a certain thing… I’ve never travelled for the adventure. There aren’t really any things I want to see either. My usual goal in life is to do as little as possible, preferably with cup of tea in hand and being horizontal. A book or yarn in hand is the Brucie Bonus.

But I decided to ‘explore’. I turned left instead of right and walked. And I quite literally came across the most gorgeous lake. One moment it wasn’t there- the next moment it was. It was such a gift. A true gift. IMG_2552.JPG

So may be sometimes, its good not to accept the status quo and perhaps see if there is more out there?

Thanks for listening.

sometimes…

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imagesI submitted my Masters’ Essay on 1st January. Following on from my previous post- I had lots of successes. I stopped when I reached the minimum word count, I stopped over the Christmas break and left myself just 24 hours to proof read, consolidate and ratify references. I did ok with managing myself doing this. I submitted the day before the deadline- then I couldn’t do any more.

Remarkably, it was marked and returned to me within 2 days.

I did well. The pass mark was 57% and I got 72.5% and  good comments (which were more surprising!) Fab.

But the problem is, I got 29 out of 40 and the Distinction cut off was 30 out of 40.

Getting a Distinction makes absolutely no difference to my final mark- which is either Pass or Fail.

But missing it by 1 mark has really challenged me. I honestly really didn’t know what standard my essay was- I was hoping that it was enough- but ultimately I didn’t know just how good it was. I did what I did. But I know that actually if I got this mark with the minimal effort I put in- it wouldn’t have taken much more to get a Distinction and that is a uncomfortable truth. It would have been easier if I’d got a solid 65%… but I didn’t…

My response has very clearly told me that I’m not ok with doing ‘just enough’.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I worked hard. I did lots of reading and thinking. I am doing the Masters because I want to learn. What I didn’t do was edit the essay endlessly and go the extra mile in my writing.

What I realise is that I’m not ok with doing ‘just enough’- but I also know I want to be. 

15894888_1240282029351044_9128517440420503338_n.jpgIt was so lovely not being ill from exhaustion this holiday. It was great being able to switch off and do what I needed to do but also have fun with friends and read silly books and colour- in cushions. I liked that. I liked the feeling of not being totally shredded at the end of it. I handed in an essay with more left inside me, and that actually was a new thing for me. And I like it.

So, missing by 1 mark isn’t great. But actually its exactly what I needed. I know I can write at that level, just by doing what I do. I can choose to go all out or I can choose to do just enough and still have a life. I choose the latter. It just might not be a smooth road to get to that destination.

Thanks for listening.

when is enough…enough?

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Unknown-1.pngWinnicott talks about the concept of being ‘good enough’. This originally was in the context of the relationship between mother and baby. The child needs a mother who is ‘good enough’. But it is a principle that I try and apply to many different areas of my life- work, rest and play.

But when is ‘enough’, ‘enough’?

I have my first essay to submit. Deadline is 2nd January- (not the kindest of submission dates me thinks!)

My Masters course is either a pass or a fail. (the essays get graded but final degree classification is pass or fail).

I am a recovering perfectionist and I am choosing (against every fibre of my being screaming in protest) to submit an essay that is just ‘good enough’. It doesn’t have to be all singing-all dancing, it just needs to be good enough to pass.  Wowzers, I’m finding that hard! Because I genuinely do not know when ‘enough is enough!’.

At the moment, I am tired and a little churned up emotionally…so I really do not want to spend between now and January 2nd, slogging on an essay unnecessarily. I have thoroughly enjoyed the reading and I’ve learnt a lot in the process, but I’m ready for a break.

Unknown.pngSo how do I approach this? and can I actually do this in practice? More importantly, how on earth do I manage this shouting internal voice screaming ‘failure’ at me? And how will I manage myself when a) my peers start talking about how much they have done and b) can I cope when I get the mark returned- knowing I could have done better, if I’d put more effort in? (Gosh, I am finding this ridiculously hard!)

So plan of action thus far… with my internal dialogue shouting

  1. The word count is between 4000-5000. 4000 words is enough.
  2. Get to 4000 and then STOP. 
  3. Refer to theory
  4. Give both sides of the argument
  5. Structure it in some kind of coherent order
  6. Reference accurately
  7. Proof read it
  8. SUBMIT and MOVE ON.

Surely, if I do these, it should pass? (I need to accept the uncomfortable truth that ultimately until this one is marked, I won’t entirely know- so I will need to manage my anxiety and add a little bit of ‘fingers crossed’.

Unusually, I will now allow my inner critic a space… usually I just try to squash it down, but pretending it isn’t there is really quite a stupid strategy (for me).

“If you stop at 4000, it will be rubbish. Usually, you write well over the word limit and in that process of editing, it gets better. You are basically suggesting handing in your first draft…ARE YOU MAD! It will never be good enough. You will fail. The tutor will think you are thick. You talk a good talk but can’t write an essay. You will lose all credibility. Everyone will ask what you’ve got and not believe you when you say you were trying to just do ‘enough’. ‘Enough’- what a load of bullshit. Who thought of that?!? Why? Why do the course unless you are going to put 100% in to it? Just because its a pass or fail- you don’t have to lower your standards… bit weak isn’t it. Sometimes Hepzibah, you are just a light weight- not very committed, lazy and quite frankly not very impressive.”

Gosh, it’s good to write. That is what I’m carrying at the moment- no wonder I’m feeling crap! So what do I do about it? Well I think I need to counteract the inner critic to move forward.

“Yep, I am planning to do this differently. Yes, I am planning to hand in effect, my first draft. And yes, it may not be as good as previous essays. I think it is really unlikely that it will fail. I think if I do the points 1-7 listed above, it should be ok. I can’t guarantee that until I get the mark back- but I think, it should be enough. The tutor will think what he thinks- I can’t control what he thinks and most probably I will never know what he really thinks. I can write essays- in fact I can write quite eloquently. It may not be the most refined thing I have ever written- but I can write. And I can write well. Yep, my peers will ask what I’ve got and I can either choose not to tell them, or I can celebrate what I get- knowing my own internal motivation. ‘good enough’-has caught a very big following in fact… I am totally committed to this course. I have worked hard. But I’m also totally committed to my family, my friends, my dogs, my work and my self. I’m not lowering my standards I am trying to do things differently and stay well- both physically and mentally. I am many things but I am not a lightweight. I am totally committed to all I do. I’m not lazy- I just want a break. Impressive is in the eye of the beholder…”

And as I write my response, I know that I don’t believe a word of it. BOTHER. I know its true- but I don’t know its true about me. SHIT. So, that’s why, I have to stick to the plan. I have to hand in a ‘good enough’ essay and deal with it. I remember handing in an essay for my bible course diploma- it ‘only’ got 89%. I had a TOTAL meltdown. My tutor agreed to a re-mark and the mark did get increased however, I still remember what he said to me… ‘Hepzibah, this is a warning. The mark has been raised, but you know as well as I do, that the mark isn’t the issue. Your response is.” 20 years later, I have to put that advice in to practice. Sometimes you just have to prioritise, Hepzibah, get over yourself.

images.jpegSo, I am going to grit my teeth. Do points 1-7. Have fun with my family. Enjoy my time away with some of the most wonderful people I know. Walk the pups lots. Watch films. Read novels. Crochet and colour. Make and bake. Sleep. Eat. (maybe drink the odd baileys) and replenish the reserves ready for the next bit.

I know that for many who read my blog, Christmas is a painful time. Hanker down.You’ve got this far. You can do it.

Thanks for listening.