Where to start?

Today I received my marks back for the two most recents pieces of work, done mostly over the Christmas break. My marks were fine (75% A, 65% B), but was a bit irritated that for the geo-caching essay, which I’d declared was literally the worst piece of work I’ve ever handed in (which it was), got 10% more marks for it, done in 1% of the time of the other (masterplan for a regeneration scheme round the Feeder Canal area of Bristol).
I know I should be happy with these pretty good marks, except they also make me feel that effort, energy and time spent on the work has nothing to do with marks, and therefore presumably quality. So basically I wasted the holidays on my work, and gave myself tons of stress for nothing. I did not mean to spend so much of my holiday, incuding leaving the family Boxing Day lunch early, setting my alarm for 5.30am on New Year’s Day and getting 1/2hour sleep in 66 hours at point point etc etc etc, just to get an average, unexceptional mark! I know that probably even 100% on a piece of work wouldn’t feel like fair effort:reward ratio, so I don’t know why I bother anyway!

I’d love to not do too much work and still have the same, or better quality. Which surely should be possible as others seem to manage it, and I honestly believe that I can do it! That irritates me especially, as I tended to think I was ok at the academic sides of things, but what I was actually good at was being creative. But seems that I’m even less than average on that. Which annoys me further as I don’t know how to show that I am quite good! I’ve tended to just work longer on things to improve them and persevere til they’re done, but even that isn’t enough anymore.
At the moment I’m averaging 67% and have done exactly half the course. So I have three options:
1. Keep working same amount.

  • not very healthy (food, sleep, unhappy etc)
  • get high 60’s, but on paper no better than a lower 60, which makes it seem those marks/effort are pointless
  • quality of work still a B. Basically ‘average’. What is that to be proud of and put in a portfolio, or worse, show at a face-to-face interview?

2. Slack off, get minimum amount of marks to get 60% (ie average 53% this term)

  • give more time for being normal, and enjoy things
  • still get a B (merit) overall
  • work would really not be portfolio quality, but hopefully, having not spent so much time on it already, I’d be more willing to improve it after getting feedback.
  •  I don’t really want to do purposely poor work
  • wouldn’t be guaraunteed 53%, might risk doing worse

3. Work extra hard to get 73% this term, average to 70% – an A/Distinction

  • Would feel good, would make the last few years’ tears, lost weight and wrinkles a tiny bit more worth it.
  • ‘A’ (distinction) sounds much more positive and I’d have more confidence showing my portfolio and knowing it was above average. Given I totally lack confidence, especially when its been confirmed my work is not terribly good, having a reason for confidence would be very good!
  • would be nice to know my work is above average (which I think it could be if I didn’t stress over it)
  • Don’t know how to do it. Really can’t spend much more time on my work as I get minimal sleep and food as it is, and have next to zero social life as it is! Obviously it’s a case of working harder and faster, rather than longer. But how to do that?

Looking at what I’ve written, aside from being a sad person, is that it seems I equate effort/energy/time with quality and therefore I expect marks to be a reflection of that. I know of course that that isn’t true. But I do think it! How else can I judge my work and what sort of effort I should put in to it? I often find that working on a project makes me become so involved in it that I lose sight of whether it is good or not. So then I feel I have to put in the time to make sure I make it good. Then marks are the only way to discover if it was any good.Unfortunately, while the time –> quality seemed more or less true last year, this year is the year that counts, and it isn’t true.

That’s all for now. Though I have a lot more thoughts on this topic!

I think it will be good to always end with a positive strategy, so I can improve where to put my energy, and feel that I’m moving forwards.

  • Learn a way to judge my work (other than amount of time spent), or how not to become so wrapped up in it so I can’t judge it.
  • Learn where to focus my energy – which parts actually matter?
  • Learn how to convert effort –>quality, and ideally reduce effort required.
  • Learn How to work more efficiently, harder and faster.
  • Make me not defined by my hang ups over work! I honestly feel that this isn’t me, but the longer it goes on for, and the more I talk about it, me and everyone else are going to end up believing it!

Today’s hot thoughts:

  • maybe this is me
  • maybe I am just average
  • maybe this really is my best work
  • maybe will always be on the verge of tipping myself over the edge, just to do something normal and unexceptional