A ham sandwich with moudly bread

Woke up this morning. Thought “damn I’m still here”, drifted in and out of sleep for a couple of hours. Woke up again, thought “damn, I’m late!” Dragged myself out of bed, into the shower and then, threw on some clothes and made my way to uni. Made it just in time for my first seminar of 2013.

After a bad start, the day got better. I handed in my coursework, spoke to my head of year who has given me an extension for the next piece of coursework, organised some stuff for the society I am on the exec for, had lunch with a friend and a nice catch up..

Got my grammar test back from German, and I got an A (which equates to a 1st), was feeling pretty good after that – was expecting a far lower grade!

Got home, did some cleaning*, made my tea** and sat watching TV with housemates. It was all fine, and I felt not too bad considering everything that’s been going on recently…

Then I went up to my room, saw that the results were up for the 2 exams I did last term, and that was my day ruined.

On one of them I got an A (again, a 1st) which is great, but that almost doesn’t matter because on the other one I got 47%, which is just scrapping a pass.

Even though I got two As today, the low grade on that 2nd exam has really brought my mood down.

Completely lost all motivation, and although I’m trying not to show it, I’m completely and utterly gutted. I feel like I’ve failed. I’ve thrown away stupid marks. It was a multiple choice exam and I got less than 50%, how is that even possible? I’m just useless.

Even now, feeling really rubbishy about this, I know that this is an irrational response. Yes I should be disappointed, but why am I letting 1 bad mark overshadow the 2 good marks? That’s just how my brain works.

And the worst thing is, that when I did that exam (which I got 47% in) I felt really really rubbish***, and they told me I could do it after Christmas, and I said no. I did it anyway, even though I felt awful, and now it turns out I did badly. Therefore it was stupid of me to do it before Christmas. I probably could’ve done better if I had done it this week instead. Maybe.

Either way, it doesn’t matter now because it’s too late. I did the test, and so now I can’t do anything about it. The uni are not going to do anything about it now because I took the choice to do it last term instead of this term, and I’ve probably thrown away my chances of getting a 1st this year now.****

All my life I have done well at school, in exams, and at uni last year I did well too. And I have always placed massive importance on my academic achievement. It’s something I measure my success on, and nothing lower than an A is good enough for my stupid brain.

It doesn’t matter that I felt awful the day I did the exam, because now 47% is on my transcript, and that will bring down the rest of my marks.

Why do I have to have such stupidly high and rigid expectations of myself? Even though I know it’s irrational and stupid, I still can’t shake these beliefs. That I’m a failure, that I’m not good enough, that I don’t deserve anything. That if I don’t get a first, there’s no point in getting a degree.

I’m pretty sure that these thoughts are the kind of things that CBT aim to help with, so here’s hoping I can “correct” my thinking.

So all in all, today was very up and down. And because of this stupid 47%, the day will be remembered as a rubbish day. It started badly, had a nice middle and ended badly. It’s a bit like having some lovely ham in the middle of mouldy bread – it’s still a yucky sandwich, even if the ham is nice!

*I know – me, cleaning!

**I’m becoming Northern – dinner to the rest of us!

***massive understatement, again!

****Yes I know, I have ridiculously high expectations of myself, it’s what I get for going to the school I went to. And yes I know, it’s irrational.


9 thoughts on “A ham sandwich with moudly bread

  1. Jasmine says:

    Love the ham sandwich analogy. And the fact that every time I click through from my e-mail I end up on a sparkly page ๐Ÿ™‚

    Couple of points that pop into my head:

    1) The one exam you took when you were feeling, as you put it, rubbish, was the only low result you got. Therefore it is not a reflection on your abilities. It is a sign that when you are ill you cannot perform to your usual standard, which is clearly very high given your other grades. A marathon runner will have a much slower time when running with a sprained ankle. (Actually you probably shouldn’t run with a sprained ankle, but you get my point). Again, it’s much easier to accept these things when it’s physical and visible, and it probably won’t stop you from feeling convinced you are a failure. For what it’s worth, you are not a failure. I’m very rarely wrong. So it must be true ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2) Your uni offered you a chance to take the exam later. This is recognition of your struggles and a good sign that if you find yourself in a similar situation in the future, you will be supported. Maybe there’s even a chance to retake under mitigating circumstances. Even if there isn’t, you now know this option may be open to you and that the university appreciates and validates what you have been going through.

    Oh… only two points. I guess that is the official definition of a couple, though. And… they were long points. So, all good really. Now go make yourself a sandwich on yummy fresh bread ๐Ÿ™‚

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks Jasmine, really appreciate you being there ๐Ÿ™‚ And I know it was only one exam, and I did feel rubbish, but I still feel like a failure about it. I took another exam the same week, and got an A on that, so it doesn’t really make sense!
      And I think I will speak to them about maybe resitting it, because it’s so far below my usual grades and it’s just going to bring them down. I feel really stupid though for not taking the chance to do it after christmas, I just wanted to get it over with. :/ Ah well, hopefully will feel a bit better about it tomorrow!
      Hope you’re doing ok? xx

  2. Juliet says:

    I’m sorry. I know it’s easier said than done but try to see it what it is. It’s an exam. It’s nothing more and nothing less than an exam. I can understand your frustration and disappointment but it’s only natural to have a less good grade once in a while. It just happens.* Try not to take it too hard and be good to yourself even though I know how hard this is. xxx
    *It even happens to people that usually have very good grades (look at your two As!) Also, you’re not a robot and you felt low when you took the exam… take that into consideration too.

  3. Natalya says:

    You know I used to think like you before my Mindfulness CBT. Now I’m pretty good at countering irrational thoughts and calling myself on them. Don’t let one bad grade define your self-worth. You’re obviously smart and do well on your exams so allowing one low mark to define you is just wrong! Since you likely can’t do anything about it now why not focus on the other AWESOME grades you got?

    I’m not very devout or anything but in Buddhism there’s a saying about the optimist looking at a heap of poo/rubbish and spotting the flower sprouting and grass growing; whereas the pessimist only notices the poo. Anyway, I’m not trying to make this a lesson in how to be positive. There is also a more secular example if you prefer, the individual who looks at a landscape and hones in on the plants growing in a rubbish heap. You can ignore the flowers and see only garbage or notice the garbage but focus on the flowers! I really do hope you can forgive yourself for not being perfect and offer yourself some self-compassion. None of us do 100% all the time and we just have to be gentle with ourselves. Treat yourself the way you would a good friend or small child and ask yourself if you’d say the things you’re telling yourself to someone you cared about.


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