Today was a long, tiring day. I don’t feel like writing a long post now but I will start it. I got my results today. Needless to say I was terrified and barely slept last night and had to drag myself to go see my tutor to collect them but it was with much relief and joy that I found I had passed my exams and ended up with a first. I did get lower marks for Semester 2 than Semester 1, however not so low that it dragged my average down or made me need resits. (And unsurprisingly my lowest mark was for Real Time Systems! :P) Therefore it is finally confirmed that I will be studying abroad next year in Malaysia. This has been so hard not to talk about on this blog- as so much has happened already regarding making the decision to go and starting the preparations- but I didn’t want to put any of it into words until it was confirmed I was actually going. With my results the way they are I think I can finally say I am moving to Malaysia in September and not be afraid of jinxing it. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet really, and I know that my happiness right now will soon turn to stress and anxiety as it dawns on me what I am undertaking. But when I decided to go ahead and put my application in I did so because I would rather regret going, than regret not going. That still stands.

Come on, show your happiness in a new colour

Well, exams are over now. I had my last on Thursday and it went terribly, as all the others did. I’m not surprised at this one; I’m not confident with the subject and I know I didn’t work as hard as I should have for it. I was so fed up after the first three that I could barely get myself revising. I hope I have done enough to pass it at  least. Now comes the wait for results. There’s a lot resting on these results and I can honestly say I’m terrified. I don’t know what I’ll do if I fail, so I’m trying not think about it (and in that way, its all I can think of)

After the exam I got some celebratory coffee and came back to my room and I suddenly felt so unsure of myself. When revising there are always other things to do. But when you suddenly find yourself with free time its like there’s so much to do and no pressure to do any of it due to the complete lack of time limits, that you don’t even know where to begin. Its like- what do I do now?!  I’m done with my first year of university. Already. Its weird. But despite my anxiety over exam results, I am glad this semester is finally done with. That uni is done with for another year. I’m ready to take a break, recharge a bit before having to go into second year.

I came home for the weekend last night . I am attending  the wedding reception of my sisters best friend today. It’s strange that the wedding is already happening. I remember sitting in the car with my sister and her friends when this friend announced her engagement, at that time it was still a secret, not quite set in stone. It doesn’t feel like that long ago but it really was. I really wonder what it is like for my sister to watch her best friend get married. Shame, she has had to help organise this wedding and its obvious how stressed and emotional she is. I personally am not sure what to think about going to wedding reception. I’m grateful to be invited, but this is a social event and I am not exactly social. My sister was telling me what was likely to be happening and so I told her “I’m going to have to get very drunk for this, aren’t I?” That may turn out to be true. Gosh, there’s going to be dancing. I don’t dance. For the good of other people, that is.

I bought my dress two weeks ago, and I have some high heels that make me like 6ft tall and I am not sure I can walk in, and I did my makeup nicely although I’m terribly broken out from stress and nothing can cover it and I forgot my pressed powder which is annoying.  Its rather weird dressing up like this. I didn’t even go to my school proms!  So I’m feeling unsure of myself in this way too.

I hope its going to be fun. I could do with a nice  fun evening after exams.

I need to go finish getting ready now- I’m nearly late!

If not now

I’m finding it difficult to sleep lately. I’ve been staying up into the small hours of the morning, afraid of my own thoughts and those horrible hours lying awake with only these thoughts to accompany me. The darkness and the quiet is stifling and I always find my mind going to strange places, thinking about everything from the books I have been reading, to making up random stories, to remembering I forgot to take the trash out earlier. The night before last I went to bed at 3am and lay awake for hours, tossing and turning and unable to become comfortable, unable to switch my mind of. Eventually I lay there, sprawled out on my back, watching the glow of the morning light seeping out from the edges of my curtains, feeling like giving up on sleeping entirely, throwing  the blankets off and getting up. It was then my thoughts drifted to my memories. I remembered being in Vic Falls in Zimbabwe, and waking up 6am to go walk alongside the Zambezi river with my sister and watch the sun rise there. I remembered how surreal it all was, the enormity of the place, the mist that clung to everything, how beautiful it was. I remembered strolling to the edge whilst keeping back for fear of crocodiles, peering out into the river and wondering what was there, watching me, that I could not see. I remember the heat and the noises of well, Africa. The hum of many insects and more. I remembered sitting down to breakfast with my sister and us being the only ones there, making stupid jokes and laughing too loudly, too much, attracting odd glances from the staff there. It did not matter, in those early hours it was like it was just the two of us and the world belonged only to us.

When I find myself feeling sad, longing for home, longing for escape, my mind turns to my memories. It’s bittersweet.

I had another exam on Thursday. It didn’t go well. Worse than even the last two. I am even more disappointed in myself, and even more frustrated. Why does everything seem to be going wrong? Is this the moment where everything finally falls apart? After all, just how long can someone like me succeed.

Yesterday after lying awake all night I dragged myself out of bed at 8am, to clean up my room before heading to lectures. My dad came in the evening and took me out to supper. I almost got us lost but my dad patiently explained how to use my phones GPS, and the basic art of map reading, and basically took over and got us to the right place. I know, even after being here a year I am still hopelessly unfamiliar with this city. Its embarrassing for me because I know it shows how little I go out, how little I do with my life, and I can’t help but get anxious about my dad disapproving over it, becoming concerned about it. This place I had chosen was thankfully a nice place, not expensive, but nicer than the average student can afford, and so it wasn’t a problem that it was a Friday night in the city, when all the students come out to be as obnoxious as possible. I had been nervous about that too.

We went to eat Malay food, something both of us had never done, and we were both noticeably nervous about the whole affair. I was especially nervous, being the one who asked to go. Thankfully, it turned out to be good. The waitress was sweet, obviously malaysian, and obviously used to dealing with clueless patrons, and talked us through everything. My dad had these savoury pancakes for starters, followed by beef redang, and I had chicken satay followed by a chicken curry. The food was ridiculously delicious, although very hot and spicy, strong flavoured, the after taste lingering for hours afterwards. It was fun sitting there being able to complain to my dad about my exams and finally being able to confess my fears of failure to someone. I was strangely chatty, almost hyper, though and I wonder if I said too much. Even now I am afraid of telling my parents too much. There are things I prefer them not to know, and I wonder if sometimes I let those things slip out. I’m not exactly good at keeping my own secrets. Sometimes there are so many things I want to say, sometimes I just want to be listened to, and so I end up spilling things to all the wrong people.

Afterwards we went back to my room and my dad started taking some of my stuff, so that there won’t be as much to bring back when my sister comes to pick me up later. Then we sat and ate ice cream before he had to go. He’s going away on a business trip soon, so I won’t be seeing him for a while now. In the parking lot I waved him off as he was driving and he paused a moment to take my hand, briefly holding on, saying something stupid I can’t remember before letting go. I remember laughing, because those stupid things my dad say always make me laugh, because I can see him teasing me and the affection behind it. No matter how old I get I’ll always be his little girl, and I realised just how much I love my father and how grateful I am for him. I hope he knows that. Before he came I was feeling angry with him for many reasons, old hurts coming to the surface, childish emotions that I somehow can’t seem to shake off. But after seeing him again I feel even more childish for such thoughts, and I’m relieved I did not say anything hurtful to him. At the end of the day my father is just doing the best he can for our family. I know that. I understand. And I won’t let myself get angry over stupid things again.

Those few hours were a relief, a moment to lay my childish anger to rest once more, and many more away from the constant worry over exams. Now, I am back to being stressed and anxious. I have just this one exam to go now. Yet, I just can’t seem to bring myself to work for it.

I’m still longing for home, for escape.

I don’t want to be alone right now. The thought hits me suddenly. But the walls I built to keep people out were very effective.

I closed my eyes and found an answer I hadn’t noticed

This week has been quite hectic. Exams started on Monday, with my first being Mathematics. It was perfectly awful. The paper just wasn’t nice. And I know I completely messed up one question, not because I didn’t know what to do, but because I messed up my basic integration. The worst thing was that I had gone over my integration the very night before in preparation for something like happening, but I had skipped over this particular method as I did not expect it to come up. Of course, it came up. I went back to my room, grabbed my purse and headed out to Tesco on a quest for Ben and Jerry’s, and spent the evening wallowing in my misery – on the internet, and reading a hilarious book(The bro magnet, which was not entirely realistic, but hilarious with a lot of heart!), instead of revising for my next exam the next day.

My next exam was Electrical Engineering, which was at the awesome time of 16.30. I planned to take advantage of the late time and get up early to spend the day doing last minute cramming, but ended up oversleeping and spent only the afternoon doing so. This exam also went terribly wrong. The paper was OK, apart from a few of the wordier questions that I couldn’t do (of course the wordier questions I could do weren’t on the paper) I instead made the stupid mistake of mistaking a components value, therefore doing a good page of calculations and half of one question entirely wrong. Thankfully I spotted this, and I went through and corrected it. Only to check it through again and realize I had messed up my calculations. So by this point it was getting a bit messy, and after going through it again it only got worse. I am terrified that I did it wrong the third time ( I only got 61.5% efficiency for the transformer/ So either it’s a really crap transformer, or I did it wrong. My money is on the latter :( ), or that I won’t even get method marks because it is so messy!

That stupid component threw me out entirely and I messed up on the one part of the paper I could do in my sleep. I came out of the exam wanting to cry- it was so bad! I mean, how awful would it be to fail an exam because I misread a component value? Lame!

I am disappointed and annoyed with myself that I messed up both papers over such stupid, little things.

Then on Wednesday I had to go the doctors for three vaccinations. I overslept and was nearly late, of course, but I did make it and I ended up getting them done, two in one arm, and one in the other. It was painful, although the nurse was nice. She spoke to me about my course and Malaysia, and gave me further travel advice. I have to go back for more doses next week, and two weeks after that. Fun! I am really getting stressed with preparing to move abroad to Malaysia, there’s just so much to do, and I am really worried about it not working out- after so much has been done in preparation for it!

After the doctors I grabbed something to eat, and then headed back to halls to pack and get ready to travel home, only to realize I needed money for the bus. Cue me throwing together my stuff, rushing out to the ATM (the closest is 30 mins there and back!), rushing back and throwing the rest of my stuff together before rushing off to catch the bus. Amazingly or the first time ever I didn’t have to run to catch my train, and I was on my train a good ten minutes before departure. Of course, I was badly packed, and I had left behind my laundry which sucks as with this glorious weather it would have been nice to be able to hang it outside. The train journey was long, and my arms ached, and I felt ever so slightly nauseous. I was glad when the journey came to an end and I was home.

It was strange being home, at first. Although badly packed, I have most of what I need as I have a lot of stuff still at home. It’s just, popping home sometimes it really feels like I am a visitor. It hit me as I was making lunch yesterday, which was a struggle, as the food available is no longer targeted to me. And yesterday morning there wasn’t any soap in the bathroom for me, and my room doesn’t have all my things. I felt a little unsure of myself yesterday, and as to why I came home. One part was for a quiet place to study as the library is getting busy, but another was because I wanted the comfort of my home. It’s not really my home anymore though?

But although yesterday was strange as I struggled to settle in, today proved to be much better. I attempted some revision, although the warmth is distracting, and then my dad came home and announced that we would be having a braai, which turned out to be chilled out and nice. For the first time I really felt like I was home. I felt settled and relaxed. And I am looking forward to taking a break from revision tomorrow, to make milk tart and then to spend my afternoon lying in the garden reading and sunning myself. It’s quite nice being back I suppose and I am dreading having to go back to uni because it means having to face that fact that I still have two more exams! After my first two awful exams I am quite ready to be done with this semester. Mathematics and Electrical Engineering exams were the ones I felt fairly confident about, compared to Electronic Engineering and Fields which I really really really struggle with. I also haven’t even started revising for Fields, which doesn’t help matters.

It took all my willpower not to use even more exlcamation marks in this post than I already have. I am a wierd mixture of feeling lazy and relaxed, and totally stressed right now!

before our dreams disappear

I was talking to my dad on the phone early and I was telling him about my schedule and he remarked “not long left now”. Which is…actually very true. I’ve been so caught up in stress of revision and procrastination from said revision that I’ve not really thought about it at all but lectures really did finish last week, and its just my four exams to go now. (Well, not “just” because they are HORRIBLE and I need to pass them quite badly, but you get what I mean.) Therefore, my second year at university is coming to a close, and my first year doing Electrical and Electronic Engineering. In just a matter of months I’ll be in my third year of university, and my second year of my course (Yes, that confuses me too. Do I call myself a second year? Or a first year?…A first year plus?) It still feels like yesterday that I was at school. But, in reality, that’s a long time past now. I have no ties to that place anymore. Sometimes I think of it, of course, but

I mostly think of how much I hated it. I remember what the teachers said to me, and how they treated me, and I become motivated from it though. I was took aside by my head of year and told to reconsider doing engineering, well look who’s doing engineering now! Petty, yes, but its satisfying to imagine how they’d react if they knew. Not that they’d ever know. I haven’t been back. Hell, I don’t even speak to any of my old ‘friends’ from school anymore, apart from two people. Instead of blossoming into a social butterfly whilst at university, I seem to have become even more introverted and anti-social.  I think I have grown into my personality though, just in my own way. I do think its easier being shy at university than it is at school though.  At school you have to be part of a group, but not at university. Its a much less diverse environment at school, in the obvious sense, and also in the sense that there is more pressure to conform. I’m glad I did not go back to school and repeat my A levels, and did the foundation year instead. The foundation year is also becoming just another piece of the past, but it was always supposed to be that way. It was really just a stepping stone, a brief stop before going to this university. I don’t miss it at all. When I think of it,  I think of how much I liked it though, and I remember that feeling- being full of hope and motivation, having confidence in what I was doing, being so determined to do well. All of it, in a way I don’t think I’ll ever be to quite the same level again. Today, I slept until 12, procrastinated, then spent my evening hanging out in the library attempting to study and not getting very much done at all. Its not enough. It doesn’t feel like enough.

Second year is going to be something else, if all goes to plan. I can’t wait for it to be sorted out so I can stop being so vague and talk about it here. I hope second year will be good, although its definitely gonna be tough (Hello, C++ and other such things I didn’t enjoy in their ‘basic’ forms this year, and am not looking to expanding on the next). I complained a lot this year, but wait for second year! Heh.

In the end, even if sometimes I get stressed out and swear I hate engineering, I am happy doing this degree. And I like my university, too. I was actually pretty keen on going to university in Scotland but I’m glad I didn’t. Lets not mention how I was rejected from the Scottish uni I badly wanted to go to and focus on how much more awesome my current uni is and how I’m glad that events took me here.  I would have never imagined I ended up here, of all universities, but I’m glad I came here. I think I could do four years here.