In other news, I finally got one of my formative essays back; it was this one. When I said that it wouldn't be graded, I meant that the mark (they use numbers here and not letters) that the professor gives won't count towards the final grade (sorry, mark) for the course. When I said that getting a bad grade (mark) would affect my confidence, I wasn't kidding.
All things considered, I should be happy to have scraped by with a 65, which I believe is a merit, which obviously isn't a distinction. I noted with interest when I read that entry again that I said I didn't do justice to Dworkin's theory - which turned out is precisely my professor's main criticism of my essay. It's interesting in retrospect that, at some level, I was aware of where I was lacking for this essay and my severe procrastination and changing topic at 3 a.m. the day before the essay was due probably didn't help matters at all.
Nevertheless, it still sucks that I only got a 65. My professor basically said two good things about my essay: I linked the topic to materials from other weeks and that it was well-written. With regard to the second point, while it is definitely always nice to have someone reaffirm what you already know, it's pretty cold comfort to me because, well, of course it would be well-written; I wrote it. Writing is the only thing that I can do well in my life, so if I didn't even have that, then I might as well hurl myself onto the tracks of the London Underground because I would cease to have a plausible reason for my existence.
Also, in my student register where I track things like my coursework and comments from my professors, he said this: "Yalan was fairly quiet in the seminars, but in light of her obvious capabilities as demonstrated by her strong essay it would be nice to see her engage much more in the discussions next term."
First, I hope he remembered that I spoke three times in his class all term because I don't think I ever said anything in my other classes. Second, if the essay was that strong, it wouldn't have gotten a 65. Conversely, perhaps it was precisely because the essay was only worth a 65 that the chosen word here was 'strong'.
ANYWAY, I shall not belabour this issue any longer. I'm genuinely quite disappointed, and I was so nervous about seeing my mark that I literally felt sick while I waited to get my essay back (probably explains why I only ate half a sandwich for lunch...excuse me, I'm Asian; I can't help myself). I hate that some other people got 70's and I didn't. I am so competitive that I hate losing to others - hate losing when I play friendly tennis matches even though I lose all the time, and obviously, I hate losing in terms of academic results because it's at least something that I can conceivably do well in. This is an unacceptable state of affairs, and so I will actually try for this International Law and the Use of Force essay that's due on 14 January 2013. I'm thinking of writing it on my flight back to Singapore since I have 13 hours to kill anyway; only problem is, I don't have a battery for my laptop so I'd have to write it out by hand. Sounds like quite a tedious effort, but it'll save me from having to work on it in Singapore and catch up with all my International Human Rights Law reading, not to mention Jurisprudence and of course, the few articles that I missed for Theory of Human Rights Law. Oh, I have to decide what to do about my dissertation or essay too, so that's going to be a major, MAJOR bitch as well.
Yeah, this term break isn't going to be much of one. Thank GOD it's the tennis off-season; I'd otherwise waste so much time watching tennis on TV to make up for the past two months when I had to suffer the ignominy of watching matches on livestream.
Speaking of ignominy, I finally sent in my request for the official Wimbledon ballot. The problem is, I have to send the form back to them by 31 December 2012. Obviously I will be in Singapore at that time so there's no way I can send it back to them. WHAT THE FUCK! If I'd known earlier, I would've sent in my request in SEPTEMBER, when I arrived in London. I'm such an IDIOT. I did join the British Tennis Association or whatever to get into the BTA members ballot (27 pounds for the year and I get to enter the ballot - pretty awesome deal) but I'm so kiasu that I wanted to increase my chances of getting tickets by entering both. Oh well.
But this is linked to ignominy because I'm pretty much prepared to queue overnight at Wimbledon for tickets to the first session on Centre Court. That's when Roger will play for sure, being defending champion, and it's the only match that you are sure when he's going to play and where (he gets No. 1 Court for a match or two; no idea which round and tickets are sold separately for Centre and No. 1). Even if I do get balloted some tickets, there's no assurance that it will be the first Monday on Centre Court. I could buy debenture tickets, but alas, I am not rich enough to justify spending 700 fucking pounds on a first round routine job, not even one by my favourite player and in the most prestigious tournament of the sport, not even on the guarantee of really, really good seats. If I were rolling in cash, I'd buy debenture tickets for the whole damn tournament, but I am just a peasant; and now I am a pathetic poor jobless student who spends too much and didn't save enough.
I went for the LL.M. Christmas party last night at this Spanish bar in Leicester Square, though the music was the usual clubbing stuff. It was really fun, though I tend to feel a lot of retrospective embarrassment for myself when I think about what I did last night the day after (it's nothing scandalous; just a lot of dancing. Yeah, it's weird, I know). My hope is that most people are too drunk to notice and remember.
I drank a bit too much and yet still had enough sense to leave at 1.30 a.m. I walked through Covent Garden to get to Aldwych to hop on my night bus. The usually-bustling streets were quiet and nearly empty; the early Christmas decorations lit up the streets and glowed warmly in the dark and in the cold. I stopped at a mapboard to orientate myself, and a homeless man came up to me to ask me for some spare change. I gave him 2 pounds and a few random pennies; he said it was probably the most that he had made all night. We had a pleasant chat about the weather.
I reached the bus stop and a boy from Ghana struck up a conversation with me. Still riding on the alcoholic buzz, I was a lot friendlier than I would have been under normal circumstances. He said that I was pretty and seemed like a nice girl. I told him that I had a boyfriend.
I got back to my room in one piece, then struggled not to collapse in the bathroom as I forced myself to take a shower. My head was pounding, my world was spinning; I didn't know how bad I felt until I reached the comfort of my room. Perhaps it was mitigated or even masked by the sense of freedom and sheer wonder that I felt walking around central London at 1.30 a.m. - walking through a near-empty Covent Garden with its stores asleep and its festiveness tempering the brittle cold of the night; my familiar Aldwych bus stop, right in front of the Waldorf Hilton, and fellow night travellers providing me with distant comfort simply by being there; and just the fact that this was London and it was my life now and I was living so large, so free, in a way that I never did before.