March 22nd, 2013

happy girl

School ramblings.

I was whining about getting a 67 for my abortion essay in the previous entry. That was what I was upset about. To be fair, it wasn't the only thing that upset me; it was more like the extra push that propelled me over the edge, so to speak. In any case, Tuesday was simply a bad day.

Wednesday was much better. I sort of clarified things a bit with Dr K about my essay during the break in class, though it was really rushed because the break was like 5 minutes or something and I felt like I would hold up the class if I went on for too long. It also wasn't completely clear what the hell he wanted because I still wasn't sure if my argument - the one that I thought was the strongest part of my essay - worked. Essentially, I left out a crucial word in a sentence when I described what the US court said about post-viability abortions, which changed the entire complexion of what I was arguing. Dr K was like, "I'm not usually this pedantic but this is really important - it's one of the main points in Roe v. Wade."

I could kill myself. I really, really, really could. When I was going through it to make sense of his comments, I guessed that my forgetting the word "potential" was a major part of why he said my argument lacked precision - and I was right. I tried to get him to say whether he would still have said the same thing about the argument if I hadn't stupidly forgotten that word, but he said that I could figure it out on my own.

Um, no, I can't? I told him quite bluntly, "No, I can't." And he said, "Yes, you can."


He probably didn't remember what I wrote. I'm quite miffed that I'm going to have to email him about this because I really, REALLY hate emailing my professors. I'm always worried about sounding rude or too formal or too casual or too damn stupid and I spend an inordinate amount of time writing a simple email to them because of my worry. If I'm going to say something stupid, I'd rather it not be recorded in writing. But I still don't fully get it. I accept the point about my omitting the word 'potential' which made it look like I was saying that the US court said that the state has an interest in the life of the foetus when the interest is in the foetus' potential life; but I'm not sure if he read the rest of the argument as me basically saying that independently of my omission of the word 'potential'. Contrary to what he said, I also cannot figure out whether the argument makes sense. More specifically, it makes sense to me but I'm not marking my own exam, so I need to know if it makes sense to him. That's clearly more important than me being convinced that my own argument makes sense (obviously I would think that it makes sense).

I don't know what it is about him, but he seems to be so fucking hard to impress. Even though he wrote that my essay advanced 'interesting and engaging arguments', it feels like a consolatory comment more than genuine praise. I do, however, concede that I am being overly sensitive because I am still reeling from the disappointment of not getting what I want from this essay because he IS really nice and encouraging; he said that I shouldn't feel disappointed with a 67 and that I'm on a good track. Still, the point remains: he is so hard to impress. Now I'm getting really worried about the elective essay I'm doing for his other course; I don't know how the fuck I'm gonna produce something that doesn't make him yawn every other sentence.

After Dr K abused my self-esteem, it was surprisingly, then shockingly, massaged back to life by, first, my Jurisprudence professor and second, Conor Gearty, of all people. Regarding the first point, the number of times my prof said the word 'brilliant' during my meeting with her sat really well with my ego. She said that I was a lot more on top of things than I thought I was and said that I didn't give myself enough credit. It was pretty funny, though, when I told her that I was feeling bad because of my abortion essay, to which she said that sometimes the problem could just be a matter of misinterpreting the question - which implied that she was under the impression that I did really badly. Hence, I clarified, "Actually I got a 67 but it's still disappointing because it wasn't what I wanted."

She started laughing and said, "Oh come on! A 67? I thought you had a 50. I don't feel sorry for you anymore!"

If I had gotten a 50, I would have killed myself. There's a limit to the mediocrity that I can theoretically live with.

Now, I must declare my love for Conor Gearty, because it is he who single-handedly rescued my self-esteem from the depths of despair and misery. He gave us back our essays at the start of class and did it old school - called out names gave them back one by one. He called my name (my surname) last or second-to-last, and when I raised my hand he peered at me and bellowed, "Very, very good."

Let me first add an important detail: I was hungover as fucking hell from the end of term party last night (more about that later); I slept 3 hours; I was so tired that I couldn't understand half of what anyone said the entire day. As a result, I was so stunned and confused that at first I thought it was a joke; when I realised that he was serious, he'd gone on to say, "I want you to chat a bit more in class" and he'd handed me my essay, and all I could do was garble a meek "okay".

It's simply shocking. Not only did he give me my first distinction ever at the LSE, he said after class when I went up to him to explain my embarrassing reaction (or lack thereof) that it was the best essay he'd read of the bunch and that I was very good. I can't help but wonder if he'd read the wrong essay because I genuinely don't see anything in it that is worthy of such high praise from a LEGEND. I definitely did put in quite a bit of effort (spent one whole day writing it in the library) but I did not try that hard to think of original-ish arguments. I guess it helped me quite a bit that it flowed pretty well. I also really like that he said it was "extremely well written".

That was the highlight of my day. The other high point was the fantastic Jurisprudence class on Jacques Derrida's article, "The Force of Law". He investigated the origin of the force of law, or what ultimately gives law its legitimacy. I don't fully understand it but I really love his assertion that the only just system of law is one that leaves open the question of whether ideal justice has been achieved - it strives for more justice and does not close itself off to better possibilities by being content with the current state of affairs. The way the Philosophy professor explained his theory in class was fantastic too - maybe I really liked the theory not so much of its inherent attractiveness, but because of the way that it was presented. In any event, the last class was great, despite my half-incapacitated physical state (I had massive stomach cramps; probably alcoholic gastric).

Speaking of last class - after 20 weeks of teaching, my course has effectively ended. It's all revision, exam preparation and dissertation-writing from now on. I am really sad that classes are over. Not only will I no longer have a schedule to follow 3 times a week (really hard when you live alone in a foreign country and half your friends are not around for the vacation because they have all gone home), I will no longer be able to sit in class and listen to (mostly) interesting things. Sigh. It sucks. I hate it when good things come to an end, especially when they come to an end way, way too soon.

To celebrate end of term (not that it's much to celebrate; it's depressing), we had a party at The Verve on Wednesday night, which I went to after watching The Judas Kiss with Heike and Sina. It's a play about Oscar Wilde which was why I wanted to watch it. I paid £53.50 for it and although it was good with fantastic performances, especially by Rupert Everett, I don't think it was worth that much money. I was also really, really tired so I was kind of sleepy.

I definitely woke up at the party though. It was so fun. I totally didn't care that I had an 11 am class the next day for which I was always late because I had problems waking up for such an early class (11 am was fucking early when you consider that my other classes were at noon, 2 pm and 4 pm) and I drank enough to keep the buzz going for the whole night. It was nice and funny at the same time to see people from class whom I'd never met at parties before get drunk and dance - an eye-opener for sure.

I am not looking forward to exam prep. I don't even know where the hell to start. It's going to be so painful.