28th April 2020: “Your Academic Progress”

This afternoon, along with many Foundation Level and Level 4 students, I received an email from the University with the subject title “Your Academic Progress“.

I knew what mine was likely to say – (only because my attendance has been high throughout the first year, I’ve been able to engage with most lectures, and my assignment grades were better than I’d expected them to be and I was also aiming higher than I thought I’d be capable of too). So, why did I feel the knot in my stomach and the unsettled nerves of anxiety of what the email was going to say?

Perhaps seeing the words in black and white would feel more like it was written in stone and that there was no turning back! Of course, I’m more than committed to this programme, and admittedly, even more so than when I started in September 2019.
I am doing everything I can to ensure I have a fulfilled university experience, gaining skills and building confidence wherever I can, signing up as a Peer Mentor and PAL Leader, even applying and getting the role of Student Ambassador!
The perfectionist in me doubts my own capabilities, yet given all the above, I should have been able to prove to myself by now that I’ve not only done more than what’s expected of myself, but also how many people believe in me and can see what I’m capable of.

I’m trying to use my time in lock-down to work on my thought processes, and take more of a “mindfulness” approach. I’m not so much one for meditating, but mindfulness is about being in the present moment, and I need to focus on the fact I am here today because I deserve to be here. I have worked hard, and it is normal to have fear and anxiety, especially when we challenge ourselves in new situations, and when we succeed and get through, rather than beat ourselves up on the negative feelings which may have been felt, why not embrace the triumph of getting through!

Only by clicking the link would I be able to find out what the decision was going to be. Reality was going to hit – So how was I going to take it? Hold onto the knot in my stomach, or feel proud that I’ve managed to get through! After all, it has been an incredibly difficult transition for me, so I should feel like a champion for making it to the end – especially to the abrupt ending to the academic year!

As I opened the email, I skimmed the first couple of paragraphs, skipping to the part in bold, which read the words I needed to know. I returned to the beginning of the email, and read through it properly – Putting it all into perspective! I didn’t want to miss a thing.

Here’s an excerpt from the e-mail:

“In recognition of the unprecedented situation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the University confirmed that we were cancelling assessments for Foundation Year and Level 4 students from 23 March 2020, with the aim to progress all students that have demonstrated the potential to succeed. Some Level 4 assessments have continued in order to meet professional body requirements.

You will have already received your official results for your Semester 1 or Trimester 1 Modules shown on your Academic Summary. A Board of Examiners has met to review your academic achievement to date and has taken a decision on your studies.

I am pleased to advise you that the Board of Examiners has met to review your academic achievement to date and has confirmed that you have demonstrated the potential to pass your current level.  We are delighted to say that this means you will be able to progress to the next level of your programme from September 2020.”

So, there we have it. I’m happy to say that I’ll be progressing onto Level 5, and now I can work on ensuring the transition is smoother than it was when I first joined the university as a student. Yes, I am anxious, but I know this feeling will come and go over the next few months, so I am going to embrace the achievements and be kind to myself. I’m excited, and although I know there is going to be a jump in the work expectation, I can use the time I have now to prepare for it. I’ll let the adrenaline of being anxious and excited, run side-by-side, as it’ll keep me on my toes and hopefully I will feel more confident to take on the next year of my studies!

Ironically (or nicely timed by the staff at CCCU), the emails are sent to students, around the same time a blog post I’ve written about transitioning to the next level, was published onto the university’s blog page. It’s the longest post I have ever written, and my family were quick to make the remark “That’s not a blog, that’s a book!” or “When’s the book coming out?” Fortunately I completely get where they’re coming from. I just hope that when it comes to my final year, that writing a dissertation will come just as easily as writing a blog post or journal entry!!

So, if you would like some bedtime reading , which discusses the Covid-19 lockdown, feeling like a fraud as we end the semester not having completed assignments, the anxieties and uncertainties about what’s next, and challenging the inner-critic, then please click this link to check out another one of my posts:

Screenshot captured at 18:40 28/04/2020
Fearne Cotton – Happy Place Quote
“Don’t play down your potential”

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