Monday, 11 May 2009

The day after my stats exam

May 2006.

I've been doing my psychology degree for a year now, and think I'm pretty hot stuff - at least as far as the biopsychology and general foundations units go. Stats scares the shit out of me. The one bright spot about it is that I quite fancy my lecturer - mainly because a) he reminds me of the first true love of my life, David, my boyfriend from my creative writing degree, who was imaginative and gorgeous and magical. We used to take hallucinogenics, look at porn and write stories together in between having amazing bouts of sex. He used to take me shopping, in a way that no-one has taken me shopping before or since. Seriously. He ended up having to move out of his flat and back in with his mum because of our shopping bills, and I'm not even joking. You can see why I loved him. And b) because he (the stats tutor, not David) had an Apple Mac. This instantly makes me warm to a person, in the same way that discovering they read Melody Maker rather than the NME does. Or that they like Arrested Development. (The ironical American sitcom, not the dreadful hippie hop act.)

Anyway, despite lusting after the tutor (who was gay as the day is long, I needed someone to point out to me), stats held very little appeal for me. I am phobic about numbers and can barely read a telephone number out correctly. Again, I'm really not joking, ask any of my friends. But being a pathological goodie goodie and crazy perfectionist, I studied and studied and then studied some more until I was crying with the boredom of it all and about ready to jump off a bridge. As a result I finished the exam an hour early and walked out knowing I'd got a first.

I'd only just started getting to know people on my course, and had suggested, since the stats exam is traditionally much earlier than the others, with a decent gap before the next one, that we all go out for lunch and get drunk. Sadly, I think I was the only person who listened to the second part of that instruction, as my main memories from that lunch are asking for the bill twice while everyone looked at me askance, like, who's that drunken ho in the corner, and then dragging two of the other girls on a crazy shopping mission in which I stuffed my face with cake and bought some shoes which I returned two days later. I came home on the bus and - I imagine - watched TV with James all night. I'd guess we ate chips and had a cuddle, but I see that time through rose coloured glasses these days, so like as not we ignored each other all evening and had a row. Who can say?

May 2007

Stats in the second year was HARD. It made the first year look like a walk in the park. Means? Medians? Modes? PPPPFFFFF! Try some Anovas and some regression on for size! How do you like THEM apples? Our teacher had had her face painted on with a trowel and scared the bejesus out of all of us, but my god did she make us work. I'd spent weeks enmeshed over worksheets with Suzannah and Jane, and I knew my stuff.

I had a brand new boyfriend and was in the first flush of giggly, brand new love. The kind that seems like the first and only time every single time you have it. I was wearing his yellow vest that day, which he'd worn to bed, and so which smelt of him, even though yellow that close to my face makes me look like I'm in the last stage of consumption. It was at that kinda stage.

Once again, swot that I am, I finished an hour early and danced out knowing I'd aced it. I must confess, I rushed a bit as I wanted to tell people I left early, but it was a gamble that paid off. I got the glory and the marks. All that sitting inside learning when everyone else is having fun has to pay off somehow, you know! I went to the bar, which was horribly crowded, and a girl called Sarah who I didn't really know bought a bottle of wine which we drank while waiting for our friends to emerge. I don't think I stayed long. I can't really recall what happened next, but my guess it is involved romping around with the new boyfriend and generally thinking I was the bees knees, smug bitch that I was. (What a thing it is, to be jealous of your former self!)

May 2008

By now, I was getting perhaps a wee bit too pleased with myself. I'd done ridiculously well on the first two years, and although I knew I wasn't a natural and had to work at stats, I figured the hard work paid off. This year was a bit harder - our tutor, who must have been vague at the best of times, although I wouldn't know - seemed to be going through some kind of breakdown, whereby she would leave the class halfway through a 3-way Anova, or write something on the whiteboard and then rub it off before anyone had a chance to look at it. We essentially had to teach ourselves. But I was feeling pretty good on entering the exam room, although of course I feigned nerves so as not to look too full of myself.

Oh, how pride comes before a fall!

The exam had plainly been written in one of the latter stages of the aforementioned breakdown, and it honestly wasn't just me that thought that. I won't even bore you with how complicated it was, but no-one finished it and it was a complete mess. No swanning out early this year, rather a concentrated scribbling and scrabbling with a leaky biro right up until I'd been told three times to stop. Oh, the crashing crush of feeling stupid after all that work and previous success!

It was my year anniversary with the no-longer-that-new boyfriend, and for once I'd convinced him that it was worth going somewhere slightly more pricey than a Harvester to eat. We went to a very fancy Japanese place in Holborn. I'd arranged to meet him there, all the better to dazzle him with my posh frock and smug post-exam glow, or so I thought. Instead, I cried all the way home, cried all the way into town, went the wrong way out the tube once I arrived, limped all the way down High Holborn in my anniversary high heels before realising it's one of those accursed roads that goes 1 -2-3-4 in numbers rather than 2-4-6-8, if you follow me, so had to limp all the way back and was late. And of course, pathological goodie goodie and crazy perfectionist that I am, being late gives me a knot in my stomach and makes me want to hurt myself, so when I arrived I was really not love's young dream.

May 2009

Today was my last ever stats exam. Critical Analysis - you have to write for four hours on a paper you've been criticising all weekend. I cannot tell you how much my hand hurts.

We finished at two, and my friend and I went to Giraffe, where I got plastered and she, responsible mother that she is, looked at me fondly. We had delicious food and tore the exam to pieces, and then another friend arrived and joined in. Why is it that I'm always the only one drinking at these things? Is it really so wrong to want to get drunk after so much work? But however, three gin cocktails in and I decided that I deserved to go shopping, so I went to Wood Green and bought myself:

one belt
one pair of sunglasses
two novels
some make-up
some hello kitty tat
two pairs of earrings.

Will this suffice for fattening food (I'm on a diet) or a consolatory cuddle? I should think so. Shopping tends to do that.

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