So today is the last day of exams, and also the application deadline for the gross majority of my schools of interests. It feels strangely like the end of an era; this entire semester has been colored by the shadow of grad app deadlines hanging overhead, which has contributed to a constant low level of stress buzzing in the back of my mind and making me feel guilty when I do anything that isn't working on applications.
And now it's over.
I'm not sure what to do with myself anymore.
I mean, no, that's not precisely true, I have a general idea of what I can do. Work on my honor's thesis, for one. Start that paper I'm co-authoring with my adviser. Finish the novel I started writing in October. Have a real social life. Compulsively check my application statuses. (Stati? No, that's not right.)
Also, I have burnout. Or senioritis, whatever you want to call it. Kind of hit at an inopportune moment, really; right in the middle of exam week. Though I suppose it's better that it's coming right before a long break (winter hols) than in the middle of the semester and thereby influencing my grades to a greater extent. I'm one of those obnoxious kids who is disappointed when they get an A- , because they're convinced that if they really knew the material they'd have a straight-up A, and there's no reason not to know the material because they're a smart kid and so it really comes down to whether or not they worked hard enough. No escape in citing incompetence. Just akrasia. No one and nothing to blame but oneself.
My parents are not "tiger parents." Well, they kind of are: "You don't need to be dating anyone, gellert, you need to be applying to graduate school" and "Why are you going out on Friday night? Why not studying?" --but on the flip side of that coin, they think a B+ is a perfectly acceptable grade and see no distinction between an A- and an A. I've had people tell me before that I need to be less grade-focused and put the emphasis instead on material comprehension, but for me the two are one and the same. If I understand the material, I will make an A. It's what's happened in the past, it's what generally happens in the present. If I get an A-, it is often in classes or on assignments in which I can freely admit I didn't put in sufficient effort and that is why I didn't fully comprehend the material. Had I worked a little harder, studied a little, I would have an A, and more importantly, I would understand. Not saying this is true for everyone, but it's true for me.
The point is, no, it's not about some arbitrary letter for me. It's about what the letter represents in terms of my personal comprehension. Confessions of an intellectual perfectionist.