Disclaimer: personal post, do not read if you're easily bored and/or dislike self-centred whining.
I must be happy, he said, it is less pleasant than I should have thought.
Well, seeing as I blogged my A-Level results all that time ago, in a rather melodramatic fashion, I figured I should do so again for the end of the second year of uni, in part as it gives me an excuse for another one of those boring posts where I discuss university. So, an overall First for this year, with Firsts in three modules, and a mid 2:1 in the other. I was hoping for an overall First in that last module (on 20th century avant-gardism), and thought I did rather better in the exam than I evidently did, which is disappointing, but feh, etc. To reprise the question: was it worth it? Certainly more so than last year, when I wore out myself getting results that didn't, in fact, count. And this places me in a good position for next year, and afterwards: the final grade calculation allows students to discard their worst module result out of the eight they take over the last two years; aside from one (on critical theory), next year's modules hopefully will cause fewer problems.
I suppose I won out, after a fashion. In case you didn't know, or didn't guess from the posts on here, most of my first year was pretty unpleasant - not in any particularly interesting way, but simply in the sense of being bogged down by constant, low-level misery, a seemingly impenetrable isolation that soon ceased being helpful or even conducive to productivity. My reaction to abandonment among my alleged peers, the accelerated, vicious revelry of the fresher period, the destruction of every part of what (I thought) had been a stable, responsible adult life was to retreat - the only option, in retrospect. If I had made the decision to rectify my position earlier, I might have avoided the problems of this year - in which I ended up living in a situation conducive to no-one's comfort. The barely improved isolation of the suburbs in Coventry - a city beautiful for its traces, and its sense of community, but notable for the fact that almost none of my close friends lived there - at least gave me the chance to concentrate on work, which explains the (academic) successes. But the fact remains that I am, after a fashion, happy. Not to give the impression that carrying on is some kind of heroic achievement (though there have been times, in years now gone by, when getting out of bed was a full-blown mission), but I'm glad to have been able to do so.
I was not one of the care-free ones, not before university, not during it and not now: not one of those who drank themselves into laughter, who harbours memories, who went on road-trips, who slept their way through the club, who ascended to positions of (minor) power through sheer socialising (there are plenty of them). I'm not one of those happy to specialise myself out of existence, those for whom learning is a matter to be dispatched before moving onto 'real' interests (e.g. trash TV, banking, interning for Vice, etc.), those prepared to allow a vicious and irredeemably stupid oligarchy to systematically destroy what I set my life by. In the years to come, there will be no memoirs, no reminiscences centring on now - except in the sense that life catches up with you, not in the form of cataclysmic events, but in spite of you. One day you find, not that the world has settled into the patterns you wanted, but that you know how to engage with its flux, its impossibilities, its necessities and incomprehensible content. I'm still here, in spite of the biters and haters, in spite of me, and I'm not prepared to stop it.
Perhaps my best years are behind me, when there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn't want them back.