I sit in the foyer of this morning’s lecture theatre. It’s after 10am and I’ve been awake for over two hours, but it feels like mere moments ago. Stepping off the bus at university I’d realised I was 45 minutes early. The lethargy hit me like a warm pillow as you fall into bed. I knew the feeling. I needed to speak to my folks. Ma would be in class already but Pa would be at his managers desk.

He answered on the fourth ring. He wasn’t with a client. Within a minute the tears ran free. He boosted me up, assured me it wasn’t the end of the world and I can repeat as often as I liked. Its only life. Everyone forgets things. I’m doing exceptionally well regardless. Its not fair this happened to me but everyone understands.

What brought this on, you wonder? For the last 3 weeks I’ve been on a university break. This means independent study, catch up on lectures, exam prep, readings and well as assignment completion. I am a regimented student. At the beginning of semester I print and bind all essential documents. I enter my important dates, (tests, exams, assignments, 1 & 2 week prior to assignment submission). I have wall Calender’s for each unit, weekly readings, dates, topics etc. I write these dates on my bathroom mirror and important points on cards to the read daily in the shower.

I read my text books at the start of semester, and reread with notes the week before each topic. I highlight and take notes. Rewrite notes, no take my lectures, discuss topics with family, friends and peers. I have safe spaces without distraction to read, listen, take notes and write assignments. Fair to say, I’m pretty on top of things.

Yet I’ve begun to wonder if I actually am. I do all these things for a reason. I was always a little too unconcerned with attention to detail. As I’ve begun this second life as a student, as well as this blog writing, I’ve become exceptionally concerned with accuracy and my effort. I’ve become a bit of a perfectionist. Yet, suddenly, I cannot focus. I’m forgetting concepts I’m reading and discussing and writing about for over 10 hours each week. They just aren’t clicking and making sense. In the field I love (psychology) in the area my interests run deepest (education of early and middle childhood) I just can’t retain detail.

This has reached a climax. The proof is in the proverbial ‘pudding’ of my break. On the 12th May I discovered an assignment, which was locked in to my mind, which I had checked daily and nightly on all my documents, which I felt in my core, to be due on 18th May, was in fact due 05 May. It was late. It was 25% of my grade. It had been complete for weeks. I always felt it was bad luck to submit too early. I was wrong.

Not to be deterred, I emailed my tutor and submitted it (extremely) late. There you go. No stress and only a few tears.

Next task was an assignment for a different unit. I wrote this and completed it. No stress there. I confirmed three separate times I had all the things I needed for it. However, of course, I missed the crucial element of the due date. I discovered this 9:15am Monday morning 18 May. It was due 5pm that day.

I was talking to the lecturer with my friend when I heard this news. I took a deep breath.
Its OK Jessie, I rationalised, you can do this. Just one last spell check and send it off.
Yes, I was panicking, but I knew not to get worked up. I just had to keep calm and pay attention. This wasn’t the worst situation. I could find 5 minutes between uni and work. Of course my heart began beating faster and I had an incredible hot flush. My body panicked,  even if I tried to keep my cool.
I calmed down in the lecture. I doubt I heard much or retained details. The tutorial (class) for the unit in question followed and it was then that I learned (was reminded) the document had a component that I’d neglected to reintegrate. It was done but not included. I also hadn’t submitted it to the internet-based third-party institution that was required for proof of compliance with copyright/ plagiarism laws. The turn around time through that was notorious for requiring days to return documents.
Needless to say my attention was divided now. With shaking hands after the tute I approached the unit coordinator. I retained my composure as I explained the cliff’s notes version of my situation. Even with medical documentation and a disability plan from the equity office of my uni, I hate playing the Lupus card. I was told to submit the request in writing with what I expected as a reasonable extension. I did this and suggested 3 days. It was accepted.

I submitted the file on line and waited. A mere 3 hours later a return came through with 4% plagiarism (the theorists names). I attached and merged all the documents. I submitted it, thanking the coordinator profusely in a return email and stated I wasn’t abusing my extension.

I wasn’t ready to cry last night. I just fell right to sleep. Evertytime I’ve stepped outside today the rain lightens, pauses, breaks for me, restarting heavily as I step undercover.

I have to cry just to wonder what is really happening in this world. Am I lucky or unlucky? Am I blessed or targeted? Does it even matter as long as I’m alive and loved?

I won’t talk to you for a bit while I finish the semester and exams. I’m sorry but I am working to make sure someone still writes. I promise.

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