Operation ASNaC

Operation ASNaC

I’ve taken to referring to anything relating to schoolwork as Operation ASNaC.  For those unaware, ASNaC (Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic) is the subject I want to study at university, provided I get the grades in my A-Levels to go to Cambridge. It’s the reason I’m neither blogging nor vlogging as often as I’d like to, and also why I’m not taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo this April.

There are several reasons for this name:

  • I’ve reached a point, particularly with French, where my sole motivation for learning it is to get an A, and not because I am particularly passionate about French. Not that it’s not a useful thing to know, but I can’t see myself ever living anywhere French-speaking. Therefore, I need to motivate myself.
  • Adding “Operation:” to the front of anything (colon optional) makes it sound instantly more exciting, and that’s motivation in itself.
  • It feels somewhat like Mission Impossible when I’m sitting here faced with 1611 words of vocabulary to learn (I have learned 137 of them), preferably before the 15th May, or when I’m staring blankly at my composition coursework which looks horribly unfinished.
  • I remain convinced that I’m going to die at any moment.

My blog these days is a weird mix of a personal journal explaining what I’m up to and, mostly, excusing my absence, and analysis of things like Vikings. I think that’s okay, though. I’ve never pretended to stick to one topic, and with ‘student’ dominating my life at the moment, it seemed weird to omit it.

I alternate between thinking “nobody’s going to care what I’m doing at school” and “well, I’m always interested in reading about other people’s school existence” — especially those from different countries or homeschoolers or both, because it’s a perspective on life I haven’t had. So maybe other people feel the same, and it’s not as dull. I guess I’ll find out depending on how popular this post becomes.

Oh, and I’m going to need all the support I can get from the internet if I’m going to stay sane over the next three months, so there’s that, too.

At the moment, I have four primary concerns.

1: Baroque Counterpoint

Bane of my existence, torture of my soul: this aspect of A-Level Music is the part I should’ve stayed well away from. I thought I was being clever, escaping the chord-based harmony of Bach Chorales for the melodic lines of counterpoint, but I was letting myself in for something horrific. I think on the last three assignments I’ve averaged a C, and the controlled assessment (a three-hour exam, although with breaks) is in ten days’ time. Counterpoint makes me want to cry.

2: Composition

Does it look like Music is eating my life? Because it is. I’ve got three or four weeks to finish composing a sonatina, and my progress is less than impressive. I spent a couple of hours talking it over with Father Person earlier, because he’s good at things like this, but the problem is that I still have to do it. It’s all very well, in theory, to explain how modulations and chord sequences should help my development section, but the fact is I’m pretty useless at thinking in terms of chords, and I just panic whenever they come up. Again, I want to cry whenever faced with my composition.

3: French vocabulary

I’ve been told time and time again that vocab is the most important for all aspects of French A-Level – for the written paper, the essays, and the speaking exam. And it’s probably true. Okay, so most of my problems lie in conjugation and grammar because I am incompetent and have a terrible memory, but at the moment Memrise is helping me learn all the vocab I need for my AS resit (1004 words, some of which I’ve never seen before) and this year’s A2 paper (607 words, many of which I already know). I decided to take last year’s exam again, because I need any extra marks I can scrape here and there. The fact that I’ve never seen any of this ‘Media’ vocab kind of explains why I got a B, though.

4: French ‘cultural topics’

They’re not quite such a drain on my lifestrength as Baroque counterpoint, but they drive me mad anyway, and I need to know them for the essay part of the written exam and for the oral exam. For A2 we’re required to study two cultural topics, which in this case is a playwright/play (Ionesco, La Cantatrice Chauve) and a director/film (Kassovitz, La Haine). Which wouldn’t be so bad, if I actually liked either of the pieces, but I don’t, so I’m obliged to explain how La Cantatrice Chauve changed my perspective on life and La Haine gave me greater appreciation for cinema, despite strongly disliking both of them. I mean, come on. La Cantatrice Chauve has no defined characters (Theatre of the Absurd, bro) and La Haine‘s got no female ones, so there’s not a lot to interest me there…

My mission to get A*AA in my exams is continuing, and I’m more and more motivated every day we draw closer to my exams, though I’m also growing increasingly anxious and stressed out. I’ll probably post less and less often until I break up for study leave on 14th May, after which I can imagine my procrastination will properly start.

Your encouragement is greatly appreciated — if all goes according to plan, I’ll be here celebrating in August, and from October you’ll get to hear me rambling about Old Irish literature until you regret ever following my blog… ;)

137 of 1611 French vocabulary words learned … 1474 to go. *weeps endlessly and despairs*

8 thoughts on “Operation ASNaC

  1. Oh. my. gosh. HOW DO YOU DO THIS??! I think it’s cool when you do posts like this because I was homeschooled and therefore have absolutely no idea what A-levels even means. (I assume it means you’re awesome.) So therefore, YES, it’s interesting. But my mind boggles at all the stuff you do. I think I should learn 1,000 more English words personally. I would probably not have to use “gosh” and “seriously” as much as I do.

    1. I don’t have a choice — if I don’t do them I’ll fail my exams and I won’t get into university! It’s not a choice…

      (A-Levels : Advanced Levels, final year exams in British schools. AS Levels : Advanced Subsidiary Levels, penultimate year, contributes to A2 grade.)

  2. Go, Miriam! Good luck! I’m afraid I don’t know anything about Baroque counterpoint and less about French (my mom jokes that all the French I know I learned from DW… allons-y. I am so pathetic, really) but I will be VERY ENTHUSIASTIC AND ENCOURAGING if that helps.

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