nin137

Nick's Journal
2008-04-29 00:15:31 (UTC)

Failure

just a little over an hour ago i had, what we batter souls
in law school like to call, a moment of freak out. it's
akin to that calvin and hobbes comic where hobbes is lying
there all dignified and calm and all of a sudden jumps up
and runs around like crazy, with calvin saying, "sometimes
all that feline dignity is just too tough to maintain."

well sometimes that's how my life is. i'm generally a calm
person, not one to really get too freaked out about things.
but today, as i was sitting on the steps in front of the
community college, waiting for my bus to drive me home, i
started to freak out.
'i have a federal income tax exam and evidence exam within
24 hours of each other in exactly one week!!!'
it didn't help that i had just taken some practice exams and
noticed that i didn't know what the fuck was going on.
hyperventilation set in and i started to fret that i had to
study some more (i had just spent about 5 straight hours in
the law library) rather than go to jiu jitsu.

i can't tell if it's the horrible fear i have of failure or
the crazy perfectionist mentality to always be the best.
i'm sure that the two combined are enough fuel to drive my
neurotic feelings.
i've started to have nightmares of failure already. i get
them a whole hell of a lot during exam time. and the thing
is, i've failed. oh yes i've failed. in every sense of the
word.
i remember, two of my best failures happened in undergrad.

the first was within the first month of classes. i was
taking intro to psych. i remember sitting in our dorm room
playing The Sims, dave was passing out sitting up right in
his chair, and, upon one of his brief revivals he glanced at
the watch, which read 4:15 and asked me, "don't you have class?"
i was annoyed that my mother was sitting next to me all of a
sudden, but then dave assured me that he had no interest in
my academic well-being but just wanted the room to himself
so that he could masturbate.
deciding it was best that i go to the psych rescitation
session i left.
only to find myself being handed a pop quiz. fuck! to say
that i hadn't studied would be an understatement, i hadn't
read anything.
i glanced at it and noticed it was multiple choice, score!
25% chance i get each of the ten questions right!
i went right up to the last minute and my psych ta informed
us taht we would be exchanging quizes in class with the
person sitting next to us who would be grading it.
of course i was sitting to a really hot chick (because hot
chicks always major in psych).
i handed her my exam and she handed me hers.
question 1: wrong. kind of awkward, she looked up and gave
me one of those quirky smiles, like, "oh this is so lame
anyhow."
those smiles stopped coming my way after the fourth straight
wrong answer. she gave me the most pitiful look when she
handed me my exam with 10 red Xs (each getting progressively
smaller).
first failure.

the second was a bit more catastrophic. i was taking some
philosophical bullshit class and wrote a paper on
globalization (treating it as a moral force, being the good
little ayn rand protege that i am). well this was a bit
problematic as the ta in charge of grading our papers was a
die hard socialist. in fact he was so die hard that he
showed us some sort of dumbass documentary he had made about
the zapatista rebellion in mexico that he had made.
sure enough to say, he and i didn't see "eye to eye" on
things capitalistic.
what's more incredible, instead of respecting my view and
giving me a grade based on effort, he completely tore my
paper to shreds, interjecting what he thought was thoughtful
objective criticism with purely subjective notions on what
was right.
i failed that assignment, and my teacher didn't want to hear
anything about bias.

but that's okay. you know, i'd rather fail spectacularly
than live a life of mediocrity and i really don't mind
failure when it's deserved (failure one above) or i'm able
to stand my ground and know i did things right (failure two).
i guess my greatest fear of failure is when i put so much
into my work.
i feel like i can finally talk about teh only failure in my
life that truly hurt me more than anything in this world.

last summer i applied to my law school's law review. i
remember i must have spent 2 fucking months on my entry and
i also remember that, when i sent that bitch in, i'd never
been more proud of anything in my life.
so august rolled around and nominations were due out and
finally i got word that people had been selected. not even
being able to wait the time it would take me to hop on the
bus and check my inbox, i called the office directly.
after a brief conversation involving my name and a lot of
panting on my end the lady put me on hold to "check."
then she came back with what was probably the biggest stab
in my heart ever.
"we never received your entry."
i remember it was a bright sunny day, i was walking around
(pacing rather) and i felt, at the moment that that sentence
hit me, that a pile of bricks rained down upon me. i felt
cold and discombobulated,
"are you sure." i managed to mutter.
"did you send it certified?"
i felt even sicker..."no."
"do you have any proof that you sent it."
that's when i almost puked..."no."
and as i hung up the phone i didn't know what i felt more,
shame, self-pity or anger.
anger one over and i couldn't belivee how stupid i was to
not send something so important certified mail!!! to not
even get delivery confirmation!!!
but i remember i had sent it in such a hurry. ugh. anyhow,
that was the worst failure i've ever had up to now.

just all that work and not even getting a "sorr you weren't
good enough" in return. that's all i want. i guess i just
want to know that my work was worthing something...even if
that something is nothing more than resemblance of human feces.

i'm not sure if that was a "spectacular" failure, but right
now it's the reigning champ. i think it's really just the
most pathetic. but nevertheless, i can't get myself to just
stop caring about my grades. i heap pressure and pressure
upon myself, but i feel that, even though i can't ever seem
to grasp all that i need, i take what i can, and i
guess...that's what life is sometimes all about.

well back to studying; thanks to this journal for a bit of
catharsis!