Friday, 1 June 2012

Bad day turned good and a terrifying email.


Today was another one of those days where I was just bored. Mind numbingly bored. I’d mucked out the horse, I’d written 1000 words of my writing project, I even finished reading Less Than Zero at long last and thinking about it, quite enjoyed it. But I just could not shake off the boredom.

I tried to apply for part time jobs, but typically, there weren’t any suitable ones to apply for. I opened up the Job Seeker’s Allowance part of the direct.gov website. Nothing good comes of direct.gov. The tedious ineptitude of student finance and my resulting student debt, the gut wrenching moment of booking a fourth driving test and now this. Good GCSE results, outstanding A Levels, a predicted 2:1 in English Literature and here I was, staring at the dole application, wondering what the hell I did wrong. I closed the application and curled up in a ball on the couch, convinced that I might as well have just not bothered. In sixth form, I worked in Poundland at weekends and remember one of the chavs from school coming to my till, recognising me and saying ‘Eee Rachel, you were dead clever in school and now you’re working here.’

That has haunted me since. I can see it now, going to the job centre and running into the people who bullied me at school and that I thought I had beaten and had achieved more than, and them seeing how I’m just the same as them. That it all got me nowhere.  I’m not going to lie, I thought of this blog and tried to think positively, but just couldn’t see the bright side. Where had it got me so far? I wanted to announce that this was all a big façade and that life was horrible and delete the full thing.

Luckily my sister came by and reminded me that we were meant to be going for a run. With her sarcastic ‘you’re in a good mood today’ I just ran ahead, because it was either that or break down, and I felt like if I broke down, I wouldn’t be able to pull myself together again.

I didn’t realise how fast or how far I’d gone until I stopped in the dene feeling peaceful and energetic and saw her red in the face trying to catch up. I felt a bit guilty then.

I’d advise anyone who is out of work, or feeling low to take up exercise. I came back feeling calmer and more focused. As I said before, you never regret going. The situation hadn’t changed, I’m still unemployed, poor and facing sucking up my pride and going on the dole until I find a part time job, but I could see the bright side again. I’m healthy, I have hobbies, and I have friends, a boyfriend and a supportive family. And a horse that likes to try and eat my phone. I have intelligence and I am employable. I can’t let my enthusiasm die, else everything I’ve worked for will all go to nothing. Okay, so I’m unemployed, but at least I have time to do what I love, and I can gain work experience. I’m volunteering at a summer school with Year 6’s in July, and there is a chance I might be selected to do Aim Higher workshops with Year 8’s one day a week for 6 weeks. I’m focusing on my writing, and I feel good about it. Really, the possibilities are endless.

I returned from my run and checked my phone to see the scariest email I have ever read.

‘Your dissertation feedback is available to view online.’

I had waited for this day, and now that it was here.  I couldn’t bring myself to open up Blackboard and look. I’d worked harder on this than on anything, yet I still knew it wasn’t perfect. I knew it could have been better. I just needed it to be a 2:1.

And it was. I have two more modules left to be graded, and then I’ll know my overall result, but so far this year, my average is a solid 2:1. I’d done it, I’d written a successful dissertation. It wasn’t the miraculous 1st I’d dreamed about, but it was a 2:1 and a good effort. I may have felt this morning like it was all for nothing, but I stayed up late, had sleepless nights and early mornings, stole library journals and cried about my references. I sent panicked emails to my tutor and taught myself philosophy and metaphysics and ruined His Dark Materials for myself forever, but it was worth it. If I hadn’t done that, it wouldn’t have happened.

A year ago, it seemed impossible, but I’ve gone and done it. Right now, being accepted on to a teaching course or making a success of my writing seems impossible, even getting a part time job or passing my driving test seems impossible, but this time next year, everything will be completely different. Nothing is impossible. 

So my 'thing that scares me' for today? Accepting that yes I've had a bad day, but facing up to the fact that only I can do something about it, and choosing to endure rather than to just give up. Oh, and opening that email was pretty terrifying!

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