Year of the Hatchling

It appears my nocturnal habits need revising if all I can think of to do with this bout of insomnia is to write not one, but two blog updates. Caffeine, you are a cruel mistress.

Since I’m up, I may as well catalogue the fun bits of school year 2010/2011 o/c The Year I Didn’t Die (Surprisingly). My jokes seem to sour with the lateness of the hour. As does my rhyming. I wonder how hilarious this will be when I read it in the morning (which it is by the way – almost three. Goddamit, coffee). If I had to name it properly, I think I would call this the Year I Stepped Out of my Comfort Zone. Hatchling was a word I’d thought up some weeks ago. As in “Hatchling: A Robyn Spreads Her Wings”. I’m copyrighting that. . . as soon as I figure out how. 2010/2011: Year of the Hatchling. I like it. Has a ring. By the by, typing like this is going to give me Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (median nerve compression, median nerve carries A and C fibres, CTS results in parasthesis and pain up to your elbow /geekery).

What I Learnt in the Year of the Hatchling…

1. I learnt to survive in a school where I had to make all new friends, networks, relationships. I had to get to know the teachers, and let them get to know me. I had to establish a persona I wanted to maintain. As it turned out, that last was secondary to all the other roles I had to assume; I was so focused on being myself that somewhere along the way that persona established itself.

2. I entered (and placed) in my first (and hopefully last) pageant. I placed second. This is a Big Deal. I have an aversion for public displays and pretty much fought the entire concept every step of the way. Why stick with it? “Wha nuh kill, fatten”. And it certainly fattened, er, strengthened my character. I’m still mildly amazed (and this isn’t narcissism, just a humble dumbfoundedness) at how beautiful I looked on coronation night. I was glowing (mostly because I never even expected to be in the top five, much less second). That experience taught me to seriously value myself, never underestimate or put myself down because sometimes (most times) other people see something great in you that you don’t.

3. I made friends, great friends. I always hear that college friends will be your friends for life and honestly, I’ve never put much stock in it. My best friend is still my best friend from high school, and I understand that relationships and people change, but that doesn’t mean I was closed off to making new ones. My strategy is simple: sit and wait. You’ll figure out soon enough who you want to be friends with, without jumping the gun too early. And it worked. The friends I have now, I can relate to (as we say so often here) “on a different level”, which is absolutely fabulous when it comes to sanity management and crisis aversion.

4. I fell in love. I can hear the snorts of derision and cynicism already. No wait, that’s my own mind. It seems like every girl goes away to university and “falls in love”. . . with a jerk. Not always but usually. Like there’s something intrinsic to the female psyche that makes us interpret all the noxious stimuli as being “perfect”. Well, I’m different. (Snorts, derisive or otherwise, are actually quite rude, you know). I’m well acquainted with the theory of personal fable, and the probability that at the end of the day, I’m not all that different from every other pathetic sap out there who’s desperate to be loved.

Being in love (or whatever it is my neuronal cells are telling me this is) has taught me acceptance. To accept myself as I see me, with my perceived flaws and graces (and there are graces). To accept that he sees me so much better than I see myself (not an insignificant feat – I’m blessed with more than my fair share of vanity). To accept him as he is, because who he is loves who I am, and why would I want that to be any different?

5. I proved to myself that I can do this. And that’s really all school has ever been about for me: a constant battle of wills between my brain and the prescribed curricula. I was pushed into the sciences “because I can do it”, pushed into medicine “because it would be such a waste of my talents to do Literature”. It was rather effortless pushing, because I love a constant mental challenge, but I still have bouts of yearning for a Literature degree. I still see myself becoming editor-in-chief of a publishing house. I still see myself writing. And yet here I am, biting my nails in anticipation of this semester’s grades, still awake at three in the morning studying for a Neuroscience final, wondering with no little curiousity what lies ahead for me in the next five years.

Because what I’ve learnt from this uphill struggle is that I am in possession of three inalienable instruments: inner strength, insatiable curiosity, and an amazing support group.

What else does a hatchling need to survive?

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