(This is a reflection, views are my own and reflect no one else’s)
I started by feeling the hype that all the seniors talked about. Everyone said you needed to take this module because there was a certain Prof who’d been reputed to take it and apparently she was ‘legendary’, ‘amazing’ and ‘(insert all other adjectives)’. Okay fine point noted, at the end of semester 1 I declared literature major and MPE-d that module which apparently I didn’t get in the MPE but I got it for 1 point (I was prepared to really bid highly for it) but okay one point, good for me.
One week before the module started, I find out it’s not Prof X as the seniors said, instead, it was the goddess of Literature. That was supposed to mean that it would get even better, right? Or, so I thought.
Week 1 stepping into the module: her English is beyond me. Her concepts are brought out so fast, but fine at least there were PowerPoint slides.
Week 2: What on earth?! There’s scholarly articles I get that but there’s nothing about reading…? (Inner monologue curses and tells me to just be calm and that I’ll get used to it in the next few weeks). Ends up going to rant to seniors, guys why did y’all hype up this I don’t get anything in lost for three hours.
Weeks 3-5: still lost. The frustration continues and builds up really intensely. I’m terrified now, she’s talking about stuff that are in her level 3000 mods and I’m not just lost, I’m mega turned off. I’m tired of trying to catch concept A that she bases concept B, C, D and E on and synthesizes with Concept F that she wants us to bring out and if we don’t she stands and stares at you and you die of fear from her stare. I continue ranting to seniors and they start telling me that I’ll prolly understand her in week 13 or something, that I’m playing life on hard mode, that her other mods aren’t like this blah blah blah… I meanwhile find out that half the class or 3/4 don’t get it. Maybe I’m not so alone on this one.
Week 6-recess week: there’s this assignment…but I spend 2 hours reading the question before giving up and sulking in a corner. I nearly go mad everytime anyone asks about this mod. I go mad in the LitSoc room and nearly burst into tears after re-reading the question and realizing I have absolutely no idea how to start and that even if you gave me 3 more weeks I’d be equally as clueless. It’s something about Odyssey- but unfortunately I don’t take 2201 which covers that book…
Week 7-8: I’m close to resignation and declaring out of literature by the end of the Sem. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m not cut out for Uni literature and I’m really dumb and that all that Sec school and JC literature were just well, no match for this. How is it that after 8 weeks I have no freaking idea what to do. It’s abstract and more abstract and we’re taking about some syntax and psychoa stuff, what’s that.?!
Week 9: she introduces a sociological reading and a text. Suddenly light comes. I’m grounded, there’s some context, I find my footing and like some magical thing, I actually understand concept A which allows me to get concept B. By the break, usually I’ll be frustrated and exhausted from trying to follow an argument I know I will never get but now I’m relatively okay.
Week 10: it’s group project presentation and further light is shed. I’m really happy now and still in disbelief that the exasperating weeks may be something of the past. It’s a relief because my Tuesday are horridly long and tiring back to back tutorial days. So that tutorial/seminar marks the start of the day. If it is bad the rest of the day becomes moody and rather cloudy (doesn’t help that it’s through lunch hours).
Week 11: I thought I’d die during the presentation on character study (This Earth of Mankind) because I was the only year 1 in a group of more experienced Y2s. Turns out that I didn’t die and in fact, I had just two points (or three) but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of sharing these and also taking her questions which I felt were not just profitable, but also it gave me a new perspective on the issue(s) and also they were enriching in terms of scope and depth. It seems that it ain’t such a bad thing to come under her spotlight after all HAHAHA.
Week 12 (update): I really enjoyed the discussions on What Maisie Knew.
So, there are a few things I realized about this experience.
1. I can’t stand it when things aren’t in my control. For better or worse, I’m like that and it sucked when the mod wasn’t under my control, it wasn’t just that it was hard but that there seemed to be no way to get my head around it. Consultations didn’t seem helpful and I just got more terrified and lost after it. But the second thing I learnt was,
2. It’s okay to not be okay IMMEDIATELY. It sucks, it’s painful and it’s a very horrible feeling but eventually there will be a breakthrough. Maybe the whole point of the experience was to teach me that half the time in Uni I won’t get it, I won’t get it the way others do, I won’t get the way I want to, the way I think I can get it. They say that the best people are those who can adapt to situations. I’m not good at that, I gotta be better. I gotta learn to be calm when I can’t change situations and slowly adapt without going mad.
3. I learn what I didn’t understand. I don’t get the abstract, my skill set lie in the factual, the grounded stuff. Some people really can handle abstract concepts, I’m not like that. My strength lies in sociological and historical deductions and macro views. That’s good to know for the future.
4. When you actually get it, the discoveries are quite amazing. Mindblowing. I suppose it took 9 weeks for me to appreciate that.
5. Even when s*** goes down, just deal with it. It MAY be worth it.