OK I’ve screwed up academically before. I know how it feels to fail an exam. The throat-wrenching 2 hour wait to leave as everyone around you scribbles away, and you stare hopelessly at a page of equations. The 8 hour coffee-fuelled essay dash that turns into frantically refreshing your inbox and tearing at split ends. 18% stamped across the bottom of your returned paper. But this is the first time I’ve felt such a long-term sense of dread.

I’m totally screwed. Our economics course on “Uncertainty and Information” is way over my head. And seems to be way over the head of my classmates on exchange as well. I really don’t know what to do. It seems there’s no way I can pass this course. It is just maths, and I’m no good at maths, that’s been proven time and time again. Our lecturer says it’s one of the hardest courses the university offers. I’m going to fail. I really am. This afternoon I sat in the shade overlooking tumbly white-block buildings and as slither of Hong Kong sea, and flicked through the South China Morning Post, wondering how on earth I’m going to get myself out of this crisis.*

And of course, looking through the newspaper, I read all these fascinating stories about things I wanted to be doing. Articles about the China-Vietnam border, then and now, war and trade. Details of Hong Kong architectural heritage, discussion of human rights in China and the democracy party in Japan. Dammit this is what I want to be doing… I don’t know what exactly, but something to do with this, to be in there, feeling and contributing to the wider world, the colourful, passionate, historical, real world that is pulsing around everywhere… everywhere but my mathsy textbooks and the stuffy silence of the HKU library, where sleeping students are draped around like an old people’s home.

Broken bathtubs. Here’s a photo taken by my Korean roommate Eunjoo, of the two of us smiling in the first couple of weeks in Hong Kong. But at least the darkness isn’t here at the minute. I’m dispirited and terrified of this course, but my black dragon (low moods) is at bay. So I should be able to think of something. img_0170

Seriously, WTF am I going to do.

*obviously, description as “crisis” is huge exaggeration and overstatement, given that this is just one course and hardly my whole future. but this is how it feels, especially given that I have to pass it and the grade counts directly towards my degree.


One Response to “CRISIS!!!”

  1. Howard Says:

    Hey Ellie, it’s good to hear your voice again, even in blog form! I wish you luck in beating off your black dragon, but from what you’ve said, your classmates are finding it equally hard, and the prof can’t fail all of you, can he?

    By the way, when did you begin blogging? I just started mine not too long ago.

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