Monday, 6 June 2011

A Not So Perfect End, But Nearly So

Since mid-March I have been concentrating on the final papers and paid virtually no attention to what happened around me. To be more precise, I simply did not have time to express my feelings and thoughts, even though I did continue to read the newspapers and attended the Arts Festival and Film Festival.

In retrospect, the process was far more stressful and painstaking than it was in the first term. Not surprisingly, no one shares greater blame than me. Procrastination was merely a symptom rather than a root cause of the lack of motivation. Missing the opportunity to secure a place in the next step of the academic ladder makes every effort to ensure a perfect grade almost meaningless other than self-actualisation. But what kind of self-actualisation is it if it were not measured by the substantial progress towards realisation of the long-term goal but the grade point average on paper?

The lack of motivation and subsequent procrastination was just one side of the story. Apart from that, the lack of interest in some of the courses taken made them even more difficult to concentrate, let alone excel. I must confess that the current grades obtained were more the result of pure luck rather than a truthful indication of the level of my academic and intellectual capabilities. Most marking schemes are designed to compare and rank any group of students at a certain point of time. Few are rigid scales of measuring capabilities in absolute terms. In fact, whether one can score high in liberal arts are dependent on a number of variables, not so much on the volume of information one presents but his/her analytical skills and articulation. Again, these are often measured by subjective preference of the assessor instead of any objective benchmark. As the old Chinese saying goes, "Championship hardly exists in liberal arts and first runner-up in martial arts", it is by no means easy to determine who is better, let alone the best, in liberal arts. It is therefore more a question of luck than capability to meet someone who finds your work more plausible than someone else's.

Given the amount of effort and time devoted and the level of genuine interest in the curriculum, I should be satisfied with the current achievement. The shortfall of 0.0375 is more a compliment than anything else. But honestly, I still can't help being disappointed at the missed opportunity of taking a step farther towards the ultimate goal, to which the current result would surely be helpful. While it is not necessarily a bad thing to take a detour, either for economic reason or to allow more time to explore the possibilities and identify the best option, for some reason a strong sense of grievance lingers on. The hard feeling that the academic results should be fully utilised to support my long-standing pursuit rather than shelved may take quite a while to overcome. Perhaps I just need to be a bit more patient to let things unfold and prepare to take them as they are.

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