I got my university results today. I did it! MEng Hons Electrical and Electronic Engineering, with a 2:1 classification. Which basically means I have met the qualifications demanded by my employer and can feel assured I will start working this September.

Or rather. I can start seriously freaking out over the fact I start working in September. Whilst waiting for results there was too much uncertainty , so I could push it to the back of my mind. Not anymore.

I am happy, relieved, and scared. And maybe just a tiny bit excited. After 5 years of hard work, of self doubt, of constantly waiting for things to fall apart… It’s over. And everything has come together just like I wanted. I am tempted to feel lucky, but its not luck and I don’t want to feel that it is. I worked for this, I really worked for this. I was determined and hard working and I stubbornly refused to give up. I need to keep that in mind as I must keep that attitude to my work. I must be prepared to keep working hard. I want to be an engineer, after all. I want to be a really great engineer.

I need to get to finding a place to live in my new city, studying up on power systems, and of course lots of shopping for my new business wardrobe.

OK, I’m pretty excited. Nervous and scared but filled with anticipation. I’m going to be a graduate electrical engineer!

Its Over

university Exams are over! University is over! I should be anxious over results and the job but although it’s there, sitting waiting at the back of my mind, right now I’m so relieved that nothing else matters.

I had my last exam on Thursday, my weakest subject and one I’m not sure I revised enough for. There has been a new lecturer this year and we were reassured it was going to be a similar exam paper, but it wasn’t. For starters, it was two hours instead of one and a half. That made me nervous as i was sitting at my seat waiting for the exam to start- why would it be longer? It could only mean it was more difficult, right? Right. Whereas the past papers had picked out a few topics from the syllabus to test on, this paper covered everything. Worse, just like that other paper I did, the questions followed on from one another, and no circuit topologies or little hints were given as in the past years. It was a mean paper, looking for ways to make you stumble. I did the best I could. What else could I do? Later that day I met with my moderator to discuss my project, and it was a little awkward and I’m not sure how well I did. Then I had to go home and rush to put together a presentation for Friday, which I had mostly made the slides for, but only had the vaguest idea of what I wanted to say and hadn’t rehearsed it. I ended up staying up until the small hours rehearsing, then I was so anxious I couldn’t fall asleep for hours, so I overslept and had to rush to make my presentation slot. The uni is quite strict about you being there to watch other people. They divided the final project presentations into four ~2+ hour slots with a handful of people presenting in each, and you have to attend at least two of the sessions. I went to the session on Thursday after my exam and before my meeting, simultaneously scaring myself and gaining ideas from it. So yeah, I arrived late on Friday for my slot, but it was OK as the presentations were alphabetical by surname and so I was second to last.

I was so nervous. When it came to my turn I rushed through the presentation, skipping out a lot of what I wanted to say, and fumbled over the questions asked of me. (Which, typically, I could answer perfectly as I was walking home) Then it was all over. I phoned my dad pretty much immediately, all giddy from relief, then I went home and vegged out in front of my PC, relishing in the feeling of having nothing to do.

Since then I’ve spent my weekend being disgustingly lazy- sleeping too much, spending too much time on my PC. But I’ve also been trying to eat better. I want to cut out chocolate from my life so I can be truly dairy free. And I want to get a hold of my disordered eating habits so I’m not binging on junk so often. I improved massively last year, then relapsed, and I want to get back on the road to recovery. Both for health and happiness, but also its not good financially. I drained my bank account these past couple of months with all my binge eating and even binge shopping (apparently, woman with disordered eating habits are prone to being bad with money and overspending. Although this hardly makes it better.) I want to take control of it before I start work. I’ve also been deep cleaning my house, a big post exam clean if you will. I only just keep up the bare minimum of chores over busy, stressful periods like exams. So I’m properly cleaning now. Taking care of all the small details. Throwing out loads of junk. Working through the masses of dirty dishes. It is tiring but it feels good. I don’t mean to sound too new agey, but it really feels like I’m cleansing the energy in my house.

I’ve still got a long way to go before I’ll be done. But that’s OK. I have the time after all. Little bits at a time. Meanwhile my sister is coming tomorrow as I’m getting graduation pictures taken and want her there, and I’m carrying on with my driving lessons, and I’m still shaky, but I think I am improving. I also ate pizza for the first time in years today, after finally working up the courage to go to a pizza place and ask for a cheese free pizza. The guy serving me was lovely about it, didn’t mind at all. It was good! Not scary as I had imagined, leaving me feeling silly for not acting sooner. The pizza was divine. Truly, I do miss hot, stringy cheese, but cheese free pizza is still better than no pizza. I compensated with loads of toppings, and the guy added more tomato paste for me and it was just…amazing.

Yeah I just wrote a paragraph about pizza. If you had gone as long as I without it, maybe you would too? Anyway, its nearly 3am and I have to get up at 8am tomorrow. Better try to sleep, even though I only woke up at midday. Even though I’m a little anxious about tomorrow.

“You never thought things would turn out like this, did you”

➔ My sister came down to visit me last Friday so we could go to the S Club 7 reunion concert. I know, how cool are we. ;) She drove down in the afternoon and then we took the bus into town – a long journey – followed by a long walk where I was amazed to discover a whole part of the city I’d never been to. My sister thankfully found this amusing. We made it to the venue OK – after a little lost detour- and there were tonnes of people there. Mostly female. Thankfully my sister held my hand and allowed me to follow her around like her child; I did not like the crowds. It made me feel anxious. Thankfully we had seats so we had our ‘space’. The opening act was OK, but the atmosphere changed remarkably once S Club 7 were announced. The stadium, that had been a little empty and with people coming in and out, was suddenly packed. Everyone stood up, everyone had their cameras out. The excitement was tangible.

It was an amazing show. I was nervous after watching the children in need performance, but they must have been training hard afterwards as they looked and sounded amazing. My sister and I joked about how unfair it is that they still all look so good. They performed all their hits and everyone was jumping around and singing… I was too young to be a really die hard fan, but it was cute seeing all these near 30 somethings jumping around and singing along perfectly. It was cute to see my sister like that. She, like most there, knew all the words. Some people even knew all the dance moves. It was really fun, and a much needed break from work. Afterwards, a long bus ride back and straight to bed. We slept in the next day, and although we had rough plans to go out and do something we just walked to the local town center and did a bit of shopping, before going to a pub for a meal and parting ways. It was a great weekend.

➔ I had my first exam on Monday, and my second exam yesterday. The first one went OK, with some good questions and some truly baffling ones. Nothing could have prepared me for how terribly the second went. Firstly, it was in a really weird location. The exam was at 4:30pm but I had to be on campus for 15:45 to catch the bus to the location: which meant I had a good 15 minutes surrounded by students buzzing with nerves, talking about exams and revision, and then a further 20 minutes hanging around at the exam hall. I really hate coming too early to exams; it does nothing for my anxiety to be surrounded by the energy of other students, to have to listen to them fretting, to see their revision notes etc. when I’ve got my own mind and its criticism to deal with. There was no other bus to take though. Then the exam started and the paper was terrible and it was one of those exams where all the questions are compulsory, and if you don’t get the answer to A then there’s follow up questions right to F that you cannot answer either. I wanted to cry. Then after the exam, the same bus, still sardine-d in by students, wanting to cry, wanting to flee. Walking home, listening to sad songs. I arrived home and immediately phoned my dad to complain, but he was busy and did not really want to talk. I have my third exam on the 4th of June and it’s the one I’m least prepared for. I’ve only done a tiny bit of revision for it thus far. I am filled with despair. If these two exams which I was prepared for did not go well then…I don’t feel at all motivated. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything useful today.

➔ My grandfather passed away suddenly last week, on Wednesday. I do not know how to deal with it. Much like when my grandmother died, it is happening in South Africa, so it feels so distant from me. So it doesn’t feel real. I am not sure I’ll be able to go back to South Africa now. It feels like the tenuous connection I had to it is fracturing, and now if I go back I’ll have to also deal with the fact that the family members I was closest to…aren’t there. I am terribly worried about my father and my grandmother.

➔ I decided to speak out about my concerns regarding me thesis. I did not feel like my supervisor had supported me enough and wanted this to be taken into consideration in marking. I saw my tutor last Monday about it, and embarrassed myself terribly by crying and sniffling through the entire meeting. Then I saw my supervisor, and the head of year. And basically the outcome is: it’s my fault. As expected, it’s my fault. They did say they will be extra careful about the marking, but I got the distinct impression that they were taking my supervisors side. And this was why I left it to the last minute, why I didn’t say anything earlier, this was why I didn’t want to speak up at all. I knew that my supervisor would win. The teacher is always right, it is always the student who is too stupid to understand, right? I am so, so worried about this. My entire degree rests on this. I desperately need a 2:1 to get my job, and it feels like there is no point to anything anymore, because my thesis….

➔ The more I think of my job, the more I want it. My mother told me not to worry so much, if one door closed (i.e. the job did not work out) another would open. “But I want that door,” I told her “that’s my door” I told her, on the verge of crying. I have come a long way to get where I am and I cannot let anything happen now that door is in sight. It is everything I want. I pray for it not to be taken from me. I didn’t want my supervisor to take it from me, so I spoke up, even though I was terrified of doing so, and it did not really make a difference. And it makes me feel so helpless and so sad.

➔ I’m not writing this entry very well. I can’t think straight. As typical of this time of year (exam and coursework deadline season) I am anxious. I feel sleepy and sad. My grandfather dying has increased these feelings. I want to go home to Cape Town so much, but I don’t want to at the same time. I feel conflicted about it.

➔ I want to be comforted, to escape, but I know no matter what I cannot escape from my own mind.

➔ On the plus side, one exam left, a couple of project presentations and then I’m FREE. I mean DONE with university. Then it’s just the long, anxious wait to results and hopefully I’ll be able to get my 2:1 and my job. Fingers crossed.

➔ My driving test is booked for July 15th. Also fingers crossed.


I’m currently playing around with photo editing apps. I really want to get around to publishing my Snowden and some Japan or even Thailand posts…by now they won’t be as text heavy or descriptive as I like my travel logs to be but they will still be something. I have some nice enough photos, but its fun to play around to make them better. I’m not a good photographer and I know no amount of filtering will make me into one, and yet I can’t help but enjoy playing around and thinking they do improve with it.

I’ve finished my exams and with that the autumn semester comes to a close and the spring semester rapidly approaches. I had one exam and a coursework due last week. I didn’t really get stuck into the coursework until about a week before the deadline so I was pretty stressed out. Oh I had tried to get the coursework done sooner but it was so hard, every time I sat down to go through it I would only end up getting more confused. I kept thinking that I just needed to revise some more and then it would click, but soon I found that even having gone through the notes, the example sheets, the past exams, I still had no clue. Stressed out and full of despair (yes, things had gotten that dramatic) I turned to my father for help, and he kindly sat with me for four hours each night practically every night that week so that Sunday, right before the deadline I had it done. My report wasn’t the best and I foolishly thought I could fluff it out on Monday morning before handing it in. Of course, I actually overslept and ended up rushing to uni and handing it in 10 minutes before the deadline without much polishing up. Then the exam was Tuesday and I was feeling more confident about that. The past exam papers had been fairly straight forward. Alas the paper I got was weird and I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. I felt angry and disappointed. I had worked so hard and for what? A terrible exam and a hasty coursework makes me nervous for this subject.

Of course, no time to rest. I had two exams this week and these were my weaker subjects. Seeing so my strong subject had gone to bits I was terrified. I ended up phoning my mom last Friday, Saturday and even Sunday because I needed so badly for someone to tell me it would be OK, that I could only do my best, that I just needed to try. You see, I’ve been struggling this semester. I’ve been slipping back into my old mentality of I’m just going to fail so why even try? This was especially true for these subjects. They were required business modules. And I wish I hadn’t been required to do them. I didn’t understand. The terminology was one thing, the main thing. And the exams were essay based and I hadn’t written essays in exams for a long time. Thankfully I found a book my dad had bought my sister a long time ago, and that had somehow fallen into my hands. How to pass exams every time. Most of it was patronising but the section on essays was invaluable. That and my fathers advice. Make key points. Use diagrams, tables and charts to help you remember. I tried my best to revise like that, even though it was so dull and frustrating I really struggled with it and I was always left with the feeling if hopelessness, that no matter what I did it wasn’t going in, it wasn’t enough.

So I had my exam on Tuesday which was half essays and half maths questions. It was a good paper but I stupidly forgot some key formulas. On Wednesday I had a pure essay exam- one and a half hours to write three essays. I put my calculator out in the exam anyway, just because it felt too weird to study without it close by. I followed the books advice and spent ten minutes whizzing through the questions jotting down a quick plan- all the key points I could remember before settling down and getting stuck into the questions. It was OK. The exam paper was good. I didn’t write enough for one question but I’d like to think the others were OK. Neither was as horrendous as I had been expecting, but neither were they good. I just hope I passed.

Its OK now. It feels great for them to be over. Today I lay in bed until well into the afternoon, warm and comfortable, enjoying not having the pressure to do anything or go anywhere. I wrapped myself in a bubble, not thinking of everything I still need to do for next semester and just letting myself relax.

I’m surprisingly calm. These pills must really be working because I have felt low, negative, worried (see:all those hours spent on the phone to my mom) but I’ve only had a proper panic attack one and a half times, and never in the exams. Unfortunately the flip side of the pills is that they affect my concentration and sleep, so in that way I’ve been tired and unfocused, but feeling calm helps me to stay relatively clear headed in the exams. To be able to tackle them without anxiety distracting me. Its good. I hope it shows on my marks. It would be too cruel that I felt like I coped on these exams in a way I never have before, just to….do badly. I won’t say fail.

Tomorrow its back to work. Got driving, and gotta get stuck into my thesis and job stuff too. I feel rather dazed, detached. I feel like I’m going to return to work tomorrow as if I’ve come back from another planet.

On Tuesday its back to lectures too. Everything continues to happen quickly. I am coping though. Just.

“There’s an albatross around your neck, all the things you’ve said, and the things you’ve done. Can you stand the person you’ve become?”

I finished my third year of university on Monday, with my group presentation and individual interview. Neither went particularly well or badly.

The presentation was in the afternoon, just after lunch. I met up with my group members in the morning and we made last minute changes and ran through it a couple of times before heading to the lecture hall for the actual thing. There were two members of staff watching us. One of them is one of my favourite members of the faculty, and the other was someone unfamiliar but who my group members had assured me we did not want to get as our moderator. We got set up and ran through it. It was not too bad – everyone did well with some minor stumbles from nerves as you would expect. The one professor (the one I like) seemed reasonably interested, although the other professor looked incredibly bored and disinterested which was off-putting. I could look at neither of them as I ran through my section. I had taken my anti-anxiety pills which meant I could just about present properly, although I was aware of how robotic I sounded. Then we got to the end of the presentation and to the questions part and this is where it fell apart. The bored professor started asking us very strange questions, and I was very grateful for my other group members attempts at answering as I had no idea where to even begin, although we were all of us baffled and it showed. It ended up with him making fun of us for not knowing the answers.

It was not great, and our presentation kind of fell apart because of the question section.

We then had a break before our individual interviews. I went off to the bathroom and when I came back my group members had disappeared, and the interviews started. I ended up waiting outside the room so I could get my stuff. As I waited another group came out from a close by lecture hall and to my surprise, they began to chat to me. We all stood there, waiting, talking amongst ourselves until we were told we could go to another lecture room to wait. Of course I had to wait to be able to get my things, which I did, and then I went to the lecture room and sat all by myself, fretting over my interview, going over my notes but not really being able to concentrate, concerned that I didn’t know where my group members were or whose interview it currently was (It was in alphabetical order.) Eventually I went to hunt down my group members, and I conveniently bumped into one of them who told me where to find the rest. There was actually just one of my group members sat there- which meant I was next. (His surname came after mine.) I sat down next to him, pouring over my notes and more anxious than ever. Then I was called for my interview. There was a table set up at the front of the lecture hall – the two interviewers sat on one side, and a chair on the other for me. The set up made me think of the interrogation rooms I’d seen in dramas. The interviewers were different to those who were present for the presentation and they were much nicer. They asked me about what I thought the project was about, what areas of the thesis I had covered, asked me in detail about those areas, and finally what role in leadership I had taken. All fairly OK questions, not the grilling I had been expecting.

I was anxious but the pills kept me from panicking and beginning to babble. Still I didn’t convey nearly half of what I should of to them. I have a feeling I did not come across like I had done as much as I did, and that I did not have the right idea about the project. At one point one of the interviewers actually seemed surprised by my answer to his question, and not in a good way. I felt so embarrassed afterwards, and so annoyed at myself for failing to mention certain things. Like always, five minutes later I had all the answers. At least it was over. At least I had not panicked.

I walked down to the bus stop, where I just missed one bus and was ignored by another. I felt myself beginning to cry. Not over the missed buses, no. I just felt very tired all of a sudden. I just wanted to be home, away from university. I really could have crouched down and started to sob right there. I felt so completely finished. It has been an exhausting year. (I did not, thankfully, give in to that temptation and managed to blink away the tears.)

But now I’m free! I’ve spent the past few days wallowing in the excessive amount of free time I now have. I’ve basically spent the past few days sleeping, watching dramas… I did catch up on chores and I’ve been trying to eat a bit better. I’m trying not to feel too bad about being lazy though. Next week I’ll try to integrate some slightly more productive things into my time and be even more focused on eating well. For now I’m letting myself relax. Telling myself its OK, everything’s OK. Telling myself to stop worrying about results and fourth year and just focus on now.

You can tell I’m not being entirely successful.

On Sunday I’m going to meet up with my dad to go walking, which I am looking forward to, and over the weekend I should receive information about what fourth year project I have been assigned, which I am not looking forward to.