Of motivation and mid-terms

Several years after having firmly convinced myself that love for one’s subject is the only important thing where studying is concerned, that I’ve no fascination with competition, and that I’m no longer a gamer, I sit here with an unusually elevated heart rate and a familiar form of highly motivational hunger.

For the first time in so long, purely because of a conveniently-placed piece of advertising, I can kinaesthetically image the competitive edge – that rush that comes with, in video games, beating a level after learning precisely how to take advantage of that hidden spot implemented by the game’s developer; the superficial satisfaction that comes with striding out of an examination several minutes early, knowing that almost every answer you’ve given is indisputably correct; the command of and race against your mind that is calmly, confidently, flawlessly memorizing, manipulating, and reproducing every piece of content that can possibly present itself on an assessment.

Performance on tests doesn’t indicate intelligence, understanding of material, or practical capability, necessarily, but it takes a particular, knowledge-based, carefully cultivated precision to consistently obtain near-perfect scores on difficult examinations. You can only acquire this through being truly, diligently, unconditionally ready for whatever comes. Preparing yourself in this manner may take hours, to be sure. But those hours pass quickly, because you’re not struggling through your fourth PSL470 lecture, hoping it’ll end – you’re rapidly scribbling down every single detail of this blasted placental physiology so you can hundred-percent that thing! When you don’t understand a concept, you’re not Googling so that you can barely, maybe pass your mid-term by just half-grasping the main idea – you’re browsing so that you can recite the function of the last, “never-going-to-be-on-the-test” factor on that lecture slide – so that you can easily, intelligently spew things you’re not even required to know, and use them to supplement that last short-answer question! Going through practice questions becomes less and less painless, not because you’re getting lucky after a couple of hours of last-minute cramming at three in the morning, but because it’s a week before your test, you’ve already covered everything, and you’ve all the time in the world – well, almost – to adapt to the testing style that you’ll be facing next week.

And after the first hour of that three-hour exam, when you’re one question away from having confidently finished the test, having written non-stop, and you know exactly what to put down in that last, three-word blank, know precisely what you want to say in response to a question that others won’t even touch for another two hours?  You feel like you’re flying.

With mid-terms looming, and eight assessments awaiting me, I had begun to feel thoroughly fearful earlier tonight.

It was then that I was seized with the sudden will to deposit every aspect of my remaining energy not only into writing my PSL470 mid-term, but into writing it as no one has written any such test before. In learning everything for it a week prior so that complex, time-sensitive questions will look like the fundamentals of some long-ago-mastered grammar on test day. Suddenly, everything is a game – every minute of sleep seems like it’s preventing me from the satisfaction of visibly nearing that last deliciously tricky end segment. Other work is an unwelcome distraction, because if I’m doing it, I’m not puzzling through a detail that could mean the difference between euphorically sprinting past a final intellectual obstacle and tripping over something stupid.

Life-long learning is a dedicated, laborious love, to be sure – not to be pursued for this kind of a rush. But mid-term season?  That’s just a game. And every assessment undertaken?  Just another one-trick boss: impenetrable if you’ve no clue what you’re doing, but easily reducible if you’ve got the skills and knowledge to defeat it.

Only here, there are no demos, and this is p2p.

So first, RTFM. Then, hone your tacs, expand your bases, build your strat. If it works for you, join a clan.

Whatever you do, don’t be a n00b. Be a ninja. Rush that thing, and pwn hard!


In other words, for those familiar with デスノート: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrpdFmb0EMc#t=49s/

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3 Responses to Of motivation and mid-terms

  1. you have a blog omg lav lav lav lav lav

  2. Rigers says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, Sophia!

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