On a cloud of confidence after my exam triumph in June, I instantly booked myself another one. The textbook arrived today and weighs in at a whopping three centimetres thick. It’s a beast and I’m afraid of it. I’m vaguely confident I’ve assimilated some base knowledge on the job but the fear spouts from my long forgotten natural inability to revise. It’s a concern.
I don’t remember being so bad at it when I was a young ‘un and I genuinely love learning new things. I’m an obsessive type who likes to read and assimilate all of the things about any subject you stick in front of me – it’s why I know lots about Fred West, dogs anal glands and what happens to the waste on a cruise liner. So why oh why does this not extend to career enhancing knowledge? I have a theory.
When I was 16 (going on 17) there was a whole wide world out there, exams then were just a stepping stone to a new adventure. Not too much pressure. I didn’t want to be the kid who had to re-take but it wasn’t the end of the world if that were the case. (FYI I was a straight A-er, no retakes here possums. Smug face). I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, where my place would be in the world and so, being the consumer of facts that I was – a bit like Francis Dollarhyde trying to turn into the Red Dragon by eating the painting. Sort of. – any new bit of knowledge was a gift, a treat without strings attached. And at 16 (going on 17) I couldn’t get enough of that. The kind kids called me ‘geek’, the mean ones ‘an expletive-that-rhymes-with-lanky-loser’.
Now? Now any new knowledge gained is in direct enhancement of my career. A career that I’ve very recently chosen. A career that superseded the one I’d spent an inadvertent decade building. And that’s a scary prospect. The pressure of NEEDING to retain something is tricky to overcome, for my perverse little brain anyway. And when that something is fairly complex, technical information, my mind tank goes into preservation mode. It powers down and hibernates whilst my body eats all of the cake and watches Netflix of its own accord. As a master procrastinator and a card carrying grown up, it also doesn’t help that my to do list outside of learning is ridiculous.
However, this next exam is a biggie so in stark contrast to my natural leanings I’ll be knuckling down, blocking out the universe and getting on with it.
I have my post-it’s and a selection of jaunty pens, my monster revision guide and will be attempting to take my own advice which is:
DO NOT CLEAN BEHIND THE TOILET WHEN YOU HAVE THINGS TO LEARN.
Any foolproof techniques for shutting out adulting and learning stuff? I’m open to all suggestions.