On the 19th of June this year, the final year grades of my degree were released.
Students were asked to hunt their tutors down in order to find what has come of their long, agonizing year of study.
I was not impressed, whereas in previous years I was able to simply read my grade in my own time and space, I was now required to not only HEAR my grade but also RESPOND to it immediately to my tutor (who would probably be standing a few feet away from me). The thought of such situation was highly unappealing and I tried to avoid it as much as possible.
To make matters worse, this day was also the opening night for the End of year show; a yearly event showcasing student’s work and models. A day where proud parents, curious friends and critical guests come to see “what the school has been up to”. Students had to come together in order to prepare for the opening, and with this came an array of conversations among worried and anxious students about what grades they received or were expecting. Not very helpful when you don’t want to know…
By the end of the night, it was clear that almost everyone (everyone except me) has received theirs. My less than successful attempt at avoiding my grades ended when a friend of mine finally decided to shove me into the tutor’s office to hear my grade read out. I took a deep breath and with a tense (but calm) face, I indicated to the tutor that I was ready to take the punch.
…A first in design.
Shock was what I felt. At first, I don’t think it really mattered what the grades were, hearing the sound of my tutor’s voice reading out numbers and talking was enough to stop all bodily functions.Then, I started to realise what she had just said, and I slowly took the numbers in. my face unable to expressing anything, I simply starred in my tutor’s direction.
The question was coming…
“how do you feel?”
“……” nothing come out.
“ok,…its ok” and just like that I left the office without another word.
In the three years that I have studied, the reaction to my grades have differed completely. In first year, I was disappointed at missing out on a first, in second year, I was ecstatic and overjoyed for reaching the first which I have so desired, and In the final year, I was happy for maintaining the grade but ever so slightly sad for not improving from the year before (and as a result not expressing an instantaneous response)
I suppose it is in my nature to desire to improve, that simply doing a great job is not enough. I want to do well and to do better, every time. Not being able to do so is what I would consider failure because it is failure to not learn from my mistakes.
Saying this, I understand now more than ever that some mistakes happen to remind us that there is a great deal more to learn in life, and that my journey to learn about architecture has not ended with my degree.