Exam Results and Irish Dance

Exam Results and Irish Dance

Me: “My exams are over now so I’ll actually do some blogging!”
Also me: doesn’t even plug computer in for a week

Well. I didn’t mean to leave it more than two weeks before following up on my last post, but sadly the post-exam period brought with it a nasty migraine that meant I couldn’t face looking at screens, and even though that’s mostly gone now, I’ve still been completely unmotivated. On the plus side, I’ve read quite a few books in the last few days, mainly because I haven’t had the energy to do anything else.

There are two unrelated things I want to talk about in this post, and to that end I’m going to split it up to make things clearer. Yay fancy lines.

So. I got my results for second year and they were actually better than I could have expected. I feel kind of weird about sharing them so publicly, because it feels like bragging, but at the same time a lot of people have wished me well and been supportive throughout the year and I sort of want to show what the end result of that is (plus, it’s easier than telling people one by one when they ask).

Overall, I received a 2:i with an average of 68.5 across all my papers — given that a 2:i is 60+ and a First is 70+, it’s a really high 2:i within that bracket. My papers were all fairly close together, with no major outliers: my lowest (Anglo-Saxon History) was 65 and my highest (Medieval Irish Language and Literature) was 72, which cancelled each other out and made the average super solid. I got 69 in my Medieval French paper and in Brittonic History, and 68 in Gaelic History and my dissertation.

Honestly, I was a tiny bit disappointed about the dissertation as I really hoped I’d get a First in it — but then, I didn’t expect to do so well overall, and given that I got the deadline wrong and had nine days fewer than I expected to, I can’t help but think I need to be less hard on myself.

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So, my life is a mess right now. I have a French coursework essay due at noon on Friday (pictured: my attempt to improve it last night) and I've just found out that my dissertation is due not next Friday as I believed, but this Wednesday. This is not a fun thing to discover. I am currently in hell trying to get everything finished and formatted and referenced correctly. Also I'm drowning in unnumbered pages and can never figure out what order they go in or which ones I need, so if you don't hear from me, I was Consumed By The Void Of Notes. #studying #studyspo #studentlife #dissertation #coursework #deadlines #stress #universityofcambridge #cambridgeuniversity #newnhamcollege #asnac #medieval #dissertationhell #studyspoonie

A post shared by Finn Longman (@finnlongman) on

Which I think is the general message I really need to hammer into my skull. The problem with having got such a high 2:i is that my brain immediately went, “Oh, well if you were that close why couldn’t you have got that extra 1.5 and got a First?” — even though at no point did I believe I would get a First, nor did I think I deserved one, and with so little difference between papers it’s not like there was any one topic that brought me down overall.

So basically, my brain needs to shut up and let me celebrate in peace because I DID THE THING, and I did it better than I expected, and that ought to be good enough for anyone.

Sadly, at Cambridge my second year grades don’t count whatsoever towards my final degree class and next year’s exams are the be all and end all of everything, so having a really solid grounding this year won’t help me much in the end. And that’s annoying. But I think the papers I’m taking next year ought to play to my strengths, based on how I did in these exams.

I’m taking my first proper Irish dance class since April 2011 this evening, and I’m scared. I mean, I’m excited too, but I’m super nervous too. You know when your stomach feels all tight and you can’t entirely relax your muscles and every time you think too much about something you feel like you’re going to panic? Yeah, it’s like that, except mingled with the sheer impatience of really really wanting to do this.

A few things have changed since this was taken… (Feb 2011)

I’m trying to pin down why I’m nervous, and it’s come down to a few things:

  1. I’m always nervous when I’m in new situations with new people, so it’s logical that when starting at a new dance school with teachers I’ve never met before and with no idea who else is in the class, I’d be a bit on-edge.
  2. I emailed the school using my nickname, Finn, and as a result they assumed I was a guy — I can tell from the phrasing of their emails. Which they shouldn’t necessarily have done, as you do come across girls called Finn. I didn’t correct them because it will make it easier to have the, “Actually, I’m non-binary,” conversation when we first meet and I’m not what they expect, but while this seemed like a good idea at the time, I’m now super anxious about actually doing it.
    1. The last time I was nervous about coming out to people at a new hobby (archery) it went really well, so maybe that ought to be encouraging.
    2. But this is my hometown, not Cambridge. People here vote Tory and UKIP and Leave. The chances that people will be familiar with non-binary identities is slim, let alone supportive of them.
    3. Also dance is so inherently gendered that there isn’t really a good solution to what to do next at that point. Welp. This’ll be awkward.
  3. I’m worried my body won’t stand up to doing an hour’s class and that it’ll give up on me partway through, or that I’ll generally dance really badly and make a fool of myself because hey, it’s been more than six years and I’m way more broken now than I was then.
  4. This is the first time I’ve really taken an ‘adult’ dance class — I’m worried I’ll be the youngest there by miles, or that the other people there will be scary Dance Mums who took it up because they want to support their super-competitive dancer children. I’m not sure which would be worse.
  5. I’m just anxious. Let’s face it. I have anxiety and I’m trying something new — of course I’m sketching out.

So yeah, I’m excited, but in a way that might require me to take some anxiety meds before too long to make sure I can actually eat dinner and don’t just have a stomach full of knots. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Oh, and by the way, I have a Tumblr specifically dedicated to Irish dance. You can find it here.

And that’s about it. I’d like to say I’ll blog more often from now on (I know, I know, I’m super behind on book reviews too), but I’m going to Cornwall on Saturday and I have no idea how good the internet’ll be. That said, my phone company just fiddled with contracts a bit and I have 2GB of data next month which is the most I’ve ever had since getting a smartphone, so I’ll probably try and share some pictures at the very least. I’m looking forward to seeing the Arthurian stuff down there. I’ve never been to Cornwall before, and I’m excited.

See you soon!

4 thoughts on “Exam Results and Irish Dance

  1. Way to go, Miriam! Not for your scores, (I’m glad for those, but because we don’t determine our scores I’d ratehr congratulate you on…), but for the effort you invested in those papers and making progress toward a growth mindset and self-care.

    1. Probably not! I know of one other who is an artist — she publishes books about crafting techniques which sometimes get misattributed to me on Goodreads. However, Joy is actually my middle name, and I’ve found the name to be more common and easily confused than if I’d chosen to stick with my surname…

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