Archive | April, 2009

Baby steps to the elevator…

10 Apr

I’ve heard that articulating your fears is pretty cathartic, so I hope you’ll bear with me through this gloomy post.

I’ll preface with a little background on my most wretched school experience this semester. I suppose the entire experience hasn’t been wretched, just the homework load. Ironically, I am only taking 14 credits, which is less than usual for me. Anyway, I’m in Intro to PR, Digital Imaging, Professional Writing and an honors class called The Arts in Performance. The classes are mostly project-based, which has allowed me to procrastinate the bulk of my work until the end of the semester. I coasted through January, and started to get busier in February. Then the came the post spring-break flood of homework. I’ve been dealing with the stress pretty well. Until this week that is.

On Monday I made a list of every project/assignment I have to do before the end of classes on April 23. That was quite possibly the worst idea I’ve ever had, especially in light of the increasing pressure I’ve been feeling. I probably could have avoided a freak out had I not had a panic inducing catalyst on Wednesday. Unfortunately, a panic inducing catalyst is exactly what I had.

I wrote a paper last weekend about the ballet for Arts in Performance. I generally struggle in that class because I don’t have anything to say about the performances. I find it difficult to construct an argumentative paper about the opera or an art exhibit. My essays resemble reviews or discriptions much more than they do persuasive papers. For this particular paper I discussed how modern costumes and jazz music were used to give the performance a feeling of the Roaring 20s. I was pretty happy with it. On Wednesday I got my teacher’s feedback. He was not so happy with it. He gave me a 2.66 out of four. That equals 66.5%. I’m sorry, but I have to say it. The Chelsea DiFrancesco we all know and love does not get 66.5% on anything. Ever.

The worst part was that he praised how good my writing was. His exact words: “Accurate, well-written, and attentive to salient details. You incorporated necesary quotes beautifully. Writing was very well organized and crisp. But the essay never gives the impression of arguing anything, and it therefore doesn’t work very well as an essay.”

Apparently being a good writer doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say. If you’ve been paying attention at all you won’t be shocked to hear that I freaked out. Not only about that class, but all my classes. I pulled out my calendar and the dreaded to-do list. All I could do was stare at it with an increasing level of panic and anxiety.

Molly came to my rescue however. I skipped my classes that day (always a good move when you’re feeling the pressure of a heavy course load right?) and we got pedicures and dinner. We finished the night watching Anastasia, because really, who can resist a good animated Russian love story? I was much more calm after our afternoon of fun and Molly’s constant reminder that Cs get degrees.

I am still acutely aware of how much work I have to do, but I am trying to think in tiny chunks of time. You might say I’m lucky because the end is near, but thinking about how near the end really is makes me hyperventilate a little. Baby steps.

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