(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Just writing the word makes me panic slightly.

2000 reports seem to be OK, I seem to be able just to set to and complete a first draft, then spend quite a while refining it into something I don't mind someone else reading.

However, essays fill me with dread. I don't know why. This is a relatively simple course, it is interesting, I've read all the course material, done all the exercises, done all the "easier" questions, and am now left with 2 essays to write. They are only 600 word ones, but I'm getting in a tizz. 600 words of splurge about essays are easy (I fear I'll go over it in fact), most of my blog posts are over 600 words.
I think the fear of including irrelevant stuff that is really interesting to me affects me somewhat. I've got a tiny number of words to condense so so so much information - I can't cover anything in depth, or cover all the things that I've decided are really important.
My bullet points (and brief bullet points they are too) amount to 200 words in my plan. Basically, I'm doomed.

Essays were never my strong point at school, there is a reason I became so maths focused and that was the fact words aren't my "comfortable" language. If I could converse in a meaningful way without them, I would. At school, I wrote rather long essays for my modern history coursework which were so specific on one part of a question/brief I thought was fascinating. However, it meant I was completely off what had been intended for the essay to emanate from the brief. (In the end, school despaired and reached for the extenuating circumstances forms for that load of essays.)

Anyway, I hate essays. These ones are too short to say anything, are going to be read by one of two people running the course (The OU short courses tend to be rather quaint small affairs) who both seem fairly friendly according to their postings on the forum, and I *very* much doubt will laugh at my writings. However, I'm at the stage where I'm actually too frightened to write the damn things in the first place because I might do it all completely wrong and they will laugh.

I don't know why laughing is such a fear. I remember when I had spent an entire December holiday period in bed as I simply couldn't cope, then unsurprisingly mucked up the exams in the January, when the college whisked me away to have a motivational kick up the arse to try and stop their only-sixth-form-student-on-a-scholarship from ending up being a further disaster, they didn't laugh. In fact quite the opposite. Mum, when I came out of collage that day feeling like I was going to be thrown out of education, did laugh. Because I was angry with the 100% I got in statistics, I felt like I was sabotaging myself because I hadn't done any work and still got the damn 100% in the exam. Yes, ok, laughing was probably the right reaction then - I was being stupid. But still, I'm petrified people will laugh at my idea of an academic piece of writing.
I want to be in academia somehow. My maths needs to be backed up by words which explain it. I need to get over this huge fear of submitting words without any maths to hide it behind. These words are about the history of maths, but I can't put beautiful symbols on the page with the words being purely to fill in the gaps between the maths.

I've written very nearly 600 words now. (In fact that sentence has taken me over 600 words...). It isn't difficult. I got myself into such a state earlier I gave up and did huge amounts of piano once I actually felt I could move. Which wasn't immediately after I gave up for the day. I sat there going mad and getting angry and wondering why these stupid 600 words essays are creating such a reaction.
So, essays. *nods* Currently driving me mad, especially in conjunction with the fireworks creating havoc with my head.

1 comment:

  1. How is the essay coming along?

    I used to have real problems with essays too. At school, I was always being told my essays would have been excellent if only I had answered the question (it usually turned out I had answered a different question). I didn't write some of the ones I should have during my degree and uni had to resort to extenuating circumstance forms as well. Now I have somehow agreed to write 90,000 words of PhD thesis!

    For me what really helped was, bizarrely, taking an OU course specifically about writing essays. I realised I had never been taught to write an essay and it was just assumed that because I was intelligent, I'd be able to do it. The OU course was designed for people who hadn't been in education for a while but there were some really good tips in there.


    Res x