The wait for the exam results was long, very long, about 6 weeks. We were supposed to receive them via email today by 5pm, so everyone spent the entire day refreshing their email accounts hysterically. I was laying in bed with the laptop on my knees looking at the screen all day. In typical SOAS administration fashion, there was still nothing at 6 but by 7 we found out the marks had been uploaded to the student services online platform. Eventually I also got the email saying I had passed. It took me a while to process I hadn’t simply passed, I’d gotten pretty good grades too…
Towards the end of the year I was in quite a state. I’d lost all my motivation, I was horribly depressed and everything was declining. By the time we started exams I was crying everyday and having panic attacks. I was convinced I would fail the year. I was having daily conversations with my teachers along the lines of:
- I’m going to fail. If I fail I’m going to kill myself.
- If you fail then a LOT of students are going to fail and then I will kill myself.
And then I’d turn to my friend Emma and go
- I don’t think Kashiwagi realises how bad I am.
- I don’t think you realise how good you are!
But despite what everyone was saying and even when I did much better in exams than I expected, I was still convinced I was going to fail. Since school officially ended 6 weeks ago I haven’t been able to be in a holiday state of mind because I had this looming over me like a bad curse. Even now it still hasn’t quite sunk in. I got an overall grade of 70 in japanese which is considered excellent (with 70+ you get a first) and a bit less in the essay based theoritical stuff (art, history and literature). So in short, I was being quite ridiculous. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to be hard on oneself and set one’s standards high but… I may have overdone it this time.
Though to explain myself a little: SOAS is really hardcore. The rest of the university courses have a minimum of 40% to pass the year but Japanese alone is set at 50%. Apparently people who didn’t get at least that much in their first year, failed in the second. Exam papers are corrected by THREE different examiners, two of which are external. Also at SOAS there are no second chances. If you fail, you cannot retake exams and you cannot repeat the year either. Your only option is to be downgraded to an easier degree like Japanese studies, which is three years, does not have the year in Japan, and what I did in one year they do in two. In other words it wouldn’t get me anywhere near where I want to be. It would destroy all my dreams and all my plans. Also the year after next, university fees are going up to £9000 from the £3200 we pay now. Because I started with the lower fees, I will not be affected by the change, if I was to start a different degree elsewhere, I would. So overall there was a lot to worry about.
Anyhow, I’m glad that ordeal is over with. Now my next goal is to make enough money to go to Japan for at least 2-3 weeks before school starts again in October. I found out today that one of my most favourite artists ever, Hanayo, is having a little event in KOENJI of all places on the 24th of July, that’s in 10 days, but I’d love more than anything to finally meet her. Impossible??? I guess at the end of the day my expectations will always be slightly on the unreasonable side… ;)