Summer Love-In: Those Summer Nights

Monday, June 20, 2011

Well, hello there! Happy Monday (well, it is for me, because I'M ON HOLIDAY! Weeeeeeeeeeee!).

Anywaaay... to help break the week in gently, I am so happy to introduce the delightful Lucy Stendall. Lucy was featured in my first ever monthly Blog Love post, so I've kind of already said everything there is to say about her. Basically, all you need to know is: 

1. She is an amazing photographer
2. She has nice hair.
3. She shares my unhealthy (in every sense) obsession with Party Rings.

In fact, I am slightly concerned by the extent of the similarities between Lucy and me. When Fin was reading this post over my shoulder, his exact words were, "she's just the same as you!". Erm, yes. Yes she is. It's kind of scary.

See look, she's even copied me by going to San Francisco...

It starts at Easter but the frequency increases as summer hits.

Now is probably the worst time.

It is no exaggeration to say that they bring me out in a cold sweat and hot tears.

Nightmares about exams.

The thing is I'm 28, I'm apparently a fully fledged grown up and married lady. I really shouldn't be worrying about exams anymore. After all, I finished school 10 years ago. A whole decade has passed and I haven't been in full time education for 4 years. And yet the cycle still recommences every year, without fail. 

The trauma bubbles up at Easter. This was the time of year when, as a student, I would greedily organise my files and start making reams of notes. I'd also enthusiastically draw up a timetable setting out my over ambitious plans to study two thirds of every day without a day of rest. I proudly posted the timetable on my wall and crossed off each day as the exams drew closer. The dreams around this time of year are about realising I haven't turned up for half the lessons so I'll need to copy someone elses notes.

As the summer term started, I would spend the weeks that followed rearranging the timetable as I got more and more behind (usually because I was engaging in other activities like MSN, daytime tv, painting my nails, deciding whether or not I should have a fringe...) And so as the weeks fly by, the anxiety would build and so would the dreams. My task would seem increasingly impossible. I would tire myself out chasing my revision timetable and my dreams would be riddled with panic. It's often the same dreams (lazy subconscious). Most commonly they are about being late for a class or an exam and not knowing how to get there or what it would be about. Or there's the one when I'm in an exam moments before the end and I suddenly realise I haven't written anything yet. It sounds so trivial but they are really disturbing, and sometimes epic ie. running through a storm of rapture-esque proportions to get to the exam on time but I can't remember which way to run. My dreams are often so dark that I can hardly make out my path.

I have tried to blame the fact that I was a studious child. I revised for school exams from the age of 11 like they were my finals and my future depended on them. I would mourn a B+ and be unconsoleable with a C. But I have my grades now and it turns out that rampant studying behaviour does come good in the end. This, I signed up for. But less of the lifetime of craziness inducing dreams, please?

Logic dictates that I alone can release myself from this pattern. I decided 4 years ago never to repeat the cycle of learning, revision and exams. It doesn't matter anymore that I enjoyed the learning part, relished the revision timetable devising part, indulged in the student discount part or gorged on the stationery part. I am officially done with formal education (even if it means I lose my 10% topshop discount - pah!). What else can I do?

So, sane readers (and Minerva if you're about) please help me. Tell me I'm not alone or pass me your tips and advice. I'll consider anything as long as no blood is shed in the process.

PS. This photograph doesn't have much to do with this post but it does serve as a lasting reminder that sometimes I manage to hide my geekish tendencies for long enough to look, albeit fleetingly perhaps, quite cool.

5 boats moored

  1. Lucy that picture is straight out of Vogue. I love!

    I too have this Pavlovian response to exams. I have had the worst sweat-inducing dreams I've ever experienced (sitting exams naked, invigilating my own exam, revising niche topics that will never appear). And the worst is the guilt...oh the is 7 years since I took my finals and I still feel guilty every time I pass a library.

    But you worked hard and you are clever and you aced your education and Well Done You.

  2. Firstly, Party Ring fans, have you seen this?

    My PhD cured me of my fear of exams. I had so long to study for my viva I got bored and went to a Christmas market the day before. Best advice would be don't do any more exams!

    P.S. That's so going to be my pose in all my holiday photos this year :)

  3. Anna, is it wrong I'm going to have to google Pavlovian? It's just all I'm thinking of is meringue/cream/raspberries...

    Linsey, we should ALL pose like this on holiday. I call it 'the bridge'. I just need to work out how to involve it in one of my shoots...

  4. Ahhh so that's what pavlovian means. I feel so wise...

  5. Nightmares around exam times rings true with me too - when Kirsty and I were 14 we watched a horror film the night before our first standard grade exam and (being the wimp that I am)I spent pretty much every night through out the course of our exams having ghosty/standard grade nightmares!


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