Sarah (fernstrike) wrote,
Sarah
fernstrike

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The End of Finals and the Last Essays

(That title is a not-so subtle allusion to a certain Francis Fukuyama essay that's been referenced one too many times this academic year)

I just finished my last final today! Hooray!! I can write an actual, proper post in longwinded prose because I suddenly have free minutes! Despite the relief though, it's been rather a terrible week, if I'm perfectly honest. I'm going to divvy this up into a couple of parts.

Recount of my strange sickly spell interspersed with finals drama

Saturday night, halfway through comforting a friend (who'd abruptly gone from being in a relationship to single) with wine and ice-cream and Netflix, I had a pain in my neck - must be a pulled muscle, I thought. Of course, when the fever started on Sunday afternoon, I realised that it was, in fact, a swollen lymph node. I didn't even know you had lymph nodes in that part of the neck. I was convinced they only turned up under the jaw (usual place). But a quick look at a diagram and it's true, there are some just under the ear and along the side of the neck. Anyway, everything went downhill from there, just in time for finals week! I had a fever all through Monday which made study impossible. That night it devolved into a high fever, which was dreadful. Tuesday was my history final, and I feel dreadful, because I don't really know what I wrote. I was still in the fever haze for the first forty or so minutes. I can only hope it was something comprehensible about the post-WWII Soviet strategy and Samuel P. Huntington's Clash of Civilisations - and hopefully good enough for a pass, if not something better.

The second Tuesday of every month, our university holds a Catholic mass in the chapel on campus (campus is a converted abbey, which is why we have a chapel - so might as well use it!). I'm not a Catholic in any way, but I enjoy the mass, the chapel is a beautiful place of worship, and it's a wonderful way to find some peace in the middle of a hectic life. So I went on Tuesday, and it was good for me, even if the fever ended up coming back that afternoon. I had a lovely close to the evening in any case - the sky, and my eyes, were blessed with a stunning sunset - golden, orange, red, pink, purple, lilac, and blue, all fading into one another. Couple that with the baby birds wheeling through the sky on their new wings, and it was a wonderful, unlooked for end to a difficult day. That's not the end of it though - when I sat back down and opened my computer to study for my macroeconomics final and write an essay for the subject due on the same day - I see an email from our professor extending the deadline until Friday night. I don't know if sunsets and extensions are happy coincidences or answered prayers, but they gave me a ray of hope at a time when my body was frail, my mind couldn't compensate, and I honestly wasn't sure I would survive the week with anything good to show for it.

Wednesday we had our business management final (it's a module we are all required to take). I think I did okay? I hope I did. It's a subject that's actually pretty intuitive but is made convoluted and bewildering by terminology and structure of content. And right after that, endless macroeconomics study. I'm happy the fever went away - and stayed away - so I could work for the final I was most worried about. We went all the way until 9pm, at which time we had a farewell dinner for our residence hall (so touching of them to organise it). We're all moving out for the next year - I'm excited to share photos of our apartment once we're back in September!

And today, econs! Or rather - egads! It was interesting to say the least. I woke up with a stiff neck (curtesy of still-swollen lymph nodes) and walked in to a paper with one too many questions about the topics we'd studied right at the start! Oops! I'd only spared those a cursory glance. Big mistake. But I think I solved the problems well enough. At least for this course, we need only pass either midterm or final in order to pass (all other things considered), and I did very well on the midterm! And all other things considered, my problem sets and theory during the course have been very good too - surprisingly better than microeconomics?? I barely scraped a pass in that subject (I'm doing this degree for the humanities parts guys), but I'm actually doing good in the - supposedly - harder aspect of it. Well, I've nought to complain! Even if this exam wasn't good, I'm quite confident I'll pass the subject :-) I've been relaxing all day since. I was going to play Shadow of Mordor on a whim, only to discover that while the thumbnail remained on my Macbook's Launchpad, I had, in fact, deleted the game at some point. You can imagine my anguish. That's alright - I mostly just relaxed, read, and wrote since then. I'll be taking a break (not sure yet whether the whole evening), and tomorrow, I'm going to chiong* until that macroeconomics essay is done!


*A word we use in Singlish** - of Hokkien*** origin I think - that basically means to work really really hard nonstop. It's also a double entendre though if I'm not mistaken (because of tones in Chinese languages)

**Singapore's creole - used informally, like between friends (not officially...they make sure we learn actual English in school haha, even if success is sometimes questionable). It's made of English, Hokkien, Malay, some Tamil as well I think? Also maybe some other Chinese language families? I can write a whole post about it, it's pretty cool

***A language from southern China, related to Teochew. It was once a lingua franca of the traders in the region.


Updates on fun creative things I'm doing

My friend and I, who'll be flatmates next year, have started work on a crazy brainchild of ours. We want to start an Inklings-esque community in our university. Not exactly the same - but the principle is. It's going to be an informal discussion group, where we get to talk about literature and books and writing and philosophy and history and music. Oh, and bake and knit of course. Hence its original codename - The Grandma Club. Of course, we needed something a bit more exciting than that to entice students! My friend came up with two brilliant ideas - Bookish Elves is the first (a play on 'bookshelves' and the fact that I'm a Tolkien nerd who's drawn her into the realm of nerd-dom. We're having a LotR marathon next week and it's going to be amazing. I can't wait to share Tolkien with her - more than I already have, of course!). Musings was the second, inspired by the Greek muses. Not sure if we'll pick either of these, or come up with something else. We'll see. We've already got the GoogleDoc up and running and it's been bombarded with ideas! I'm so excited!!!

I've also gotten back into fic writing after several weeks of sad departure. I'm really bummed that I missed the deadline for the Woman's Sceptre Challenge! I couldn't finish though, truly - I had a great idea for the story, and I began work, but of course school had to be put ahead of it. It just hurt that it had to be done. My mum - who's quite spiritual - suggested that the swollen lymph nodes and pain in my throat could be a manifestation of blocked creativity, the inability to convey a message. I thought that was actually a really interesting and valid idea. So on top of painkillers and fever drugs, I've been trying to visualise to bring these things back into balance. Hopefully now that the fever itself is gone - and those blasted finals too - I can get down to letting out the creativity and writing! I'm going to try and post it to SWG by the end of the week, if I can. Then I can get to work on another fic brainchild that hit me midway through revision - a story about the War of the Last Alliance, told from Thranduil's perspective. I already got down ideas for the first chapter and I'm so stoked to get it done! On top of that, I'll have time to work - at last - on my slow-going fic series about Mairon/Sauron. It's going to take time to write, despite actually being quite short, because it's so character heavy, but I've had fun getting ideas down so far, and it's going to be great to jot more down.

Other than that, I've just been working on my original novel a bit today (trying to figure out geography, different kindreds, celestial hierarchy). And I'm going to start reading again! READING! When was the last time I read something that wasn't a political treatise or UN Resolution or Keynesian theory explanation? I'm sooo excited.

This has been a monster of a post. Much love and hugs to you if you read the whole thing. And if you didn't, much love and hugs anyway because you deserve it.

-S


This is crosspoted on my Dreamwidth! Please feel free to leave a comment here or there :-)</a>
Tags: rambling, uni, update, writing/fic updates
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