It Held Me Down, But I got Up: Failing an Exam and Moving On

Philosuffy: Failing an Exam and Moving On image

There´s no pretty way to put this. I mean, you can put flowers on a dog-do, but it´s still going to be a dog-do, right? So here it goes:

I failed my grammar exam


I was on the bus on my way to the hairdresser when I got a notification that I had received a grade for my hand-in. I knew the result was going to make or break my day, but I decided to brave through it and rip the bandaid off quickly, as the knowledge of its existence and availability to me had already left its imprint on my day.

So I checked, and there it was, black on white – a big fat F.

Once I unclenched my fists and wiped the burning tears out of my eyes (why is this so emotional?), the following 2 questions popped into my head:

1) Did I Overestimate My Own Efforts?

I think most students actually do everything they can in the actual exam situation. Whether it´s writing a paper from home or attempting to hammer out something coherent in 4 hours in a giant room with one hundred other students, I think everyone, when it comes down to it, tries their best. The problem is the time before that – revision, preparation, etc. With this exam, I really did revise as much as my brain allowed to me. I felt prepared, and as I opened the exam paper, there was not a single question that took me aback or that I felt unprepared for. In fact, I started typing immediately, and didn´t need a book until an hour into the exam. However, as I learned, this is not necessarily a good thing!!! But no, all in all I don´t think I overestimated my efforts to pass this exam.

2) Do I Know What I Don´t Know?

this one is more tricky. Often times we know what went wrong, or know our weak points. Perhaps you ran out of time and you would´ve been able to pass had it not been for this factor; or maybe you were asked the one thing you had hoped would not show up on the test. Or maybe – and here is the thing – maybe you truly felt like you knew and understood everything, and finding out that you didn´t comes as a surprise to you because there´s clearly something you don´t know that you don´t know you don´t know (I´m beginning to sound like that boring-ass Donald Rumfeld movie). That is most definitely the case for me; there´s something that I feel completely confident in that I clearly haven´t truly understood, and that is where the chain broke for me. I don´t know what I don´t know.

I had to transfer between multiple means of transportation to get to my appointment, and the process of making my way from A to B gave me some time to reflect on my woeful situation. I feel like I went through the whole spectrum of emotions one typically feels when they are directly told that their skills just don´t meet the requirements.

F for failure (“I´m a walking, talking embarrassment to myself and others)
F for figures (“Of course I failed. How could I not?)
F for fu… it (“That whole class is BS, anyway. Who needs clause trees? I´ve spent 27 years constructing sentences just fine without ´em!)

and finally, walking up the brick steps to my hairdresser´s salon, F came to stand for fix it.

Because what other options do I have? There´s no use in throwing in the towel now – in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing. Haven´t most of us been through worse in our lives? Anyway, I´ve decided to share with you some of the things that I have been doing/telling myself in the last couple of days.

8 Tips For Moving on After You´ve Failed an Exam:

  1. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give yourself a hug. Go ahead – give yourself a squeeze. Don´t stop until you feel the #selflove, okay?
  2. Give yourself 5 minutes to feel sad and defeated.It does suck!
  3. Give yourself a day to pick yourself up. Distance yourself from it and try to forget about it for a little while. Go to the movies, meet your friend for a cup of tea, snuggle with your cats on the couch.
  4. Find a tutor! (if you find it necessary) I´ve realized I need help because I don´t know what I don´t know. Dammit, Don R., get out of my head!
  5. Ask your professor!
    Ask your professor if they can tell you specifically what went wrong. Obviously this is mostly relevant if you really have no idea what went wrong.
  6. Your F doesn´t have to be a secret! Yeah, something went wrong, big deal. If it becomes some sort of state-level secret for you, it can end up feeling even more like an embarrassment. You don´t have to scream it off the roof tops, I certainly don´t intent to, but if my classmates ask how it went, I´m going to be honest – it went like shit! I guarantee you that you will meet both solidarity, sympathy, and probably one or two will say “Man, I thought I was the only one!” Just like bitching about the teachers, this can be a bonding experience!
  7. Everybody fails! Now, I have absolutely no statistic to back this up (how academic of me), but after several years of monkeying around in the dusty world of academia, I can tell you that I have met plenty of people who have become closely acquainted with the good ol´ “F”. Failing an exam only makes it all the more impressive when you pass one, because subjects at university levels ARE hard and ARE challenging. Suddenly I have so much more respect for the masters of my field, because they made it through a year and a half of clause trees and that´s not some easy task.
  8. Write your theory at home! Did you run out of time? Well, if you are allowed to bring notes and other aids, I would suggest writing most of your theory sections from home, ready to type into the word document. I made the mistake of only bringing notes, which meant that I had to tie it all together at the exam. When you are pressed for time, this becomes a major stress factor. Don´t do what I did!

Finally, repeat this to yourself as many times as needed: You´re not a failure, you´re not a disappointment – you are not your grade.

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My Zodiac and Me: Am I Your Typical Gemini?

Throughout my life, I´ve always considered myself a typical Gemini – at least when it came to the innermost core of myself. When I discovered that my ascendent was Virgo, my entire personality fell into place (is that very weird?). It explained my perpetual shyness, my worry – my carefulness and my need for order. That doesn´t mean that I´m not a messy person or that my apartment doesn´t look like a bomb went off most of the time. It just means (at least to me) that I have a hard time with things being unstructured and unpredictable. As for Geminis – well, they have sort of a double personality, which is what I have always identified with the most. One half of me is lighthearted, communicative (as in good at small-talk) and spontaneous; the other half is more introspective and serious.

Adding the Virgo into the mix, I guess I´m 1/3 fun, 1/3 serious and 1/3 control-freak. Don´t you want to be my friend?

Needless to say, these different parts of me are battling it out on a daily basis, and I guess that is what makes me charming and complex, am I right? Still, I identify the most with the Gemini, and this post is going to be a run-through of the different qualities of the Gemini (according to Ganesha Speaks), seeing how well it really matches me. In other words, have I been living a lie? Dum dum dum dum. (PS: Like this idea? Scroll to the bottom of the post!)

Without further ado:

My Zodiac and Me: Gemini Edition


May 21-June 20

Gemini Strengths:

  • Brilliance of mind: Eh, let´s not get carried away here.
  • Good communication skills: I can talk to most people, and in different situations — both in terms of small-talk and deeper conversations. I feel like I´m an empathetic person and a good listener. I can also strike up a conversation with someone in the store or in the school cafeteria. However, I can´t say that I don´t feel insecure doing it or that I am not afraid of making a bad impression.
  • Gregariousness: I´m not going to lie, I had to look this one up (not sure why this couldn´t just have been called ‘sociable’, but I digress). Yes, I would say that I am gregarious (look at me using this fancy adjective like I´ve been doing it all my life) to an extent. I like to talk to people and can feel high after a good conversation, but I also feel like it sucks a lot of energy out of me. I usually need to mentally recharge after my gregarious escapades.
  • Diplomacy/Tact: Yes – in fact, sometimes I wish I could turn it down a little bit. I´m too afraid of hurting people´s feelings, resulting in me rarely standing up for myself. However, I think I´d make a good mediator.
  • Vivacity: I think I´m generally pretty vivacious, yes. I´ve been told I exude positive energy, and that I have the ability to make other people happy.
  • Enthusiasm/Cheerfulness: Yes and yes. I´m easily excited, especially when it comes to good things happening to other people. If we are friends, I´m your cheerleader!
  • Wit: I do think I have a lot of humor, and I have used humor to get through most of my life. My sense of humor is dry – really dry. Sarcasm usually cracks me up. I also have to say that humor is extremely important to me in general – I thank my lucky stars every day that Bug is as funny as he is. And I tell him, on a daily basis – “I don´t know what I´d do if you weren´t so funny”.
  • Versatility: When it comes to blending into different environments, yes. I feel like I have many different sides, and all of them are equally me.

Gemini Weaknesses:

  • Duality: If they mean having a dual personality, then yes. Like previously mentioned, I feel like I have a light side and a heavy side.
  • Prevarication: Again a word I had to look up – this means DISHONESTY, for those wondering. I try my best not to fib, but it´s not always that black and white. I never lie about things I have experienced or who I am, but there can be times where a white lie is necessary in my opinion – like when it comes to unnecessarily hurting people´s feelings, or with things you know they won´t understand because their actions have proven as much.
  • Instability: Sometimes. 🙁  
  • Indecision: YES! Especially if it´s decisions I can´t unmake.
  • Laziness and Untidiness: Unfortunately, YES. I have such a hard time pushing myself to tidy up and clean. Bug calls my corner of the livingroom “the hell hole”, which, okay, that´s exaggerating it a bit. But I usually have fifteen thousand things going, like nail polish (that I forget to put away when I´m done), oil for my dye-fried hair, pill bottles, books and magazines, etc… not proud of it! Also, I HATE doing the dishes.

The Verdict:

Considering how every single point fit me (to a higher or lesser degree), I´d say that I´m right in feeling like a bonafide Gemini – for better and worse.


NB! Service announcement:

If you want to play along and make your own version of this post with your zodiac, please do! It could be a tag of sorts, right? If you do decide to participate, please let me know so I can link your post at the bottom of this post (even if you do it three years from now). You can let me know in a comment or by tweeting me your link, using the hashtag #myzodiacandme. You are welcome to include the image that goes with this post. Lastly, you don´t have to link to this post, but it would surely be appreciated if you did! End announcement!

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Spilling the Beans: Overheard at the Coffee Shop

In the last couple of months, I have found it both helpful and inspiring to do my schoolwork out of the home. A couple of times a week, I schlep myself down to the local coffeeshop, bringing my laptop, my textbooks – and some crossword puzzles for when I begin to hate life and need a break. I never thought I would be able to focus in a busy environment like that, but it´s actually nice to be able to zone out and think about something else.

Now, I´m very curious by nature, and sometimes I will (if people talk loudly enough) get sucked into people´s conversations. Fascinating stuff, let me tell you! So, here I am, sharing some of the gems with you! Here are three different conversations overheard at the coffee shop:

Philosuffy: Spilling The Beans: Overheard at the Coffee Shop

#Case 1: Two Teenage Girls With a Lot of Trials

Exchange 1:

– Okay, so there´s this new guy in my class, right?
– Right!
– And he´s so fucking odd, like-
– Ew!
– And like it couldn´t get any worse, he´s from SOUTHERN JUTLAND!
– Oh my god, poor you!
– I know right – what I have done to deserve this.

Poor thing! Should I have asked if she was okay? If she needed a taxi home? Damn, you always think about these things after.

Exchange 2:

– Okay, so my dad is, like, in his fourth relationship now-
– Oh my god, your dad is, like, such a fuckboy!
– I know right!
– And, like, no offense, but he´s not even tall
– I know right!

I have two questions here. 1) What´s fuckboy? 2) Would you refer to your friend´s dad like that? Answer in the comments!

#Case 2: Middle-Aged Divorcees on Their First Date

My favorite conversations to overhear are those occurring on a couple´s first date. These two (a man and a woman) I´m guessing met on the classic, where they had probably both written something on their dating profiles about “Wanting to find happiness again” and “Looking for someone who likes to have fun and loves life, like me!”. Except they both seemed absolutely miserable.

“You´re not meeting my daughter, you know!”

From what I could hear, 80% of the conversation was carried by her and 20% was him getting a word in when she was taking a breath. As for their conversation, they spent most of the time talking about their previous spouses; the woman in particular seemed to hold a lot of resentment towards both her ex-husband AND his new girlfriend. Amazing how much I know, right? The woman was very upset with how quickly her ex-husband had introduced their daughter to the new girlfriend, and the awkwardness of their conversation hit its climax when the woman finally said, “You´re not going to meet my daughter, you know. Not in two weeks, not in two months, not for a long time!”. The guy´s response was something like, “Uh, okay, no, I understand”. What is the right way to respond when somebody tells you can´t do something that you haven´t even asked if you can do? I understand being selective when it comes to whom you introduce your children to, especially when it comes to partners, but still.

When they (or rather she) weren´t talking about their exes, the woman was grilling the guy about why he didn´t want (or had) any children. “I just feel like I´m too old at this point – I´m 40 years old”, the guy said — to which she rather aggressively (but clearly in a voice she considered both flirtatious and playful) replied, “You should do it! You´re not too old! Come on!”. I thought she was going to offer him her womb right then and there. Something tells me this lady isn´t done having babies.

They left after a couple of hours, and my guess is that she´ll want to see him again and he´ll probably want to keep searching.

#Case 3: Young Hearts Run Free (Far Away From Each Other)

As we all know, middle-aged divorcees are not the only ones out there looking for love. A couple of weeks after I overheard some of the previously described date from hell, I happened to overhear parts of the conversation between another couple – also a man and a woman – who were also clearly on a first date. How do I know? Well they spent about ten minutes each doing a mini-presentation on themselves and their lives, and I don´t think you do that with old friends. Did they meet on Tinder? Or did they meet at that new dating site for highly-educated singles? Does it even matter? I guess not. She was a medical student, possibly working on her PhD (don´t remember, doesn´t matter), and he was an engineer. Zero chemistry, I´m telling you. Z-e-r-o.

“Well, you know, those Americans… you´re American? Oh.”

Once they were done describing what they did for a living (I´m pretty sure neither really understood what the other person did), they began to talk about Trump – who had yet been elected at this point. Don´t you miss those innocent times? We had no idea how good we had it. The guy said something (less than flattering) about Americans – turns out she was half-American. OOPS! Don´t you hate when that happens? My guess is that there won´t be a second date.

What further happened shall remain a mystery, as I had finished my Chai Latte at that point and was done doing my work. Yes, I actually managed to eavesdrop (is it eavesdropping when people are talking VERY loudly?) and do my work at the same time. I don´t know how I did it, either.

Hope you enjoyed this little insight into the lives of our fellow earthlings!

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Guess Who´s Back – Tell a Friend (No Really)

Hi, hello, how are you? Long time no see.

Fresh year, fresh start, am I right?

So there seems to be a solid agreement across the board that 2016 has been, well, the pits. Shootings, hurricanes, Brexit, Trump, terror, Trump, more terror, more Trump, outbreaks of disease, wars, the announcement of the sequel to Jumanji starring The Rock and Nick Jones, the loss of some serious icons, Russian hacking; J.F.K, blown way, what else do I have to say? We didn´t start the fire…

Wait, what?

All of this wretchedness aside, I feel like we need some positive stories about 2016. Tell me, did it have any redeeming qualities?

Kylie Jenner, wise as she is, predicted a year ago that 2016 would be a year of “Realizing stuff”. Everyone around her were “just like, realizing things”, which inspired me to realize some things, too.

Cat Realizing Stuff

 Sofie´s 2016 Realizations (Brace yourself)

1. I´m a lousy… body-inhabitor? Spirit-owner? Human?

Let´s start off with the light stuff. I´ve realized that I have a deeply complicated and ambivalent relationship with myself and who I am. That´s light, right? I know, I know, the most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself, but sometimes that relationship can be both abusive and toxic. I need to be kinder to myself, dammit. Let´s work on that in 2017!

2. I´m lame

Secondly, I´m the kind of person who wants (and would wear) that kitsch Christmas Sweater from H&M with a bulldog on it that reads “Gangsta Wrapper” or the one that says “You Used To Call Me on My Elf Phone” – naturally featuring a little elf and a phone. Yeah, I love that shit – it´s hysterical to me, and that´s A-OKAY. I gotchu H&M; I´m picking up what you´re throwing down. Best purchase of 2016 is my “Are You a Beaver? Cuz Dam”-t-shirt which I wear with pride.

3. Criticism makes me butthurt

Thirdly, I seriously need to become better at accepting academic criticism. I take it too personally, and instead my focus should be solely on improving my work. Say it with me: It is not a critique of who you are as a person; it´s a HELP that will help steer you in the right direction in your academic career. You are NOT your work (even if you put your heart and soul into it. Which I sometimes do.)

4. My personality is – like – ambidextrous – so imma use both hands!

Finally, I´ve realized that I want this blog to represent all aspects of me, and not just the long-winded, introspective, bellybutton-gazing part. I´m telling you, I´m more than that Debbie Downer you´ve come to know; I can also be fun and lighthearted and consumeristic and all the things that society values. I´M JUST LIKE YOU, GUYS! Okay, major flashbacks to second grade. Anyway, I want my blog to showcase all the molecules that make up the special snowflake that is me; you know what I´m saying? That´s why I have all of those fun new categories up there in the menu-bar. Exciting, isn´t it? So, I will work on that.

In an attempt to tie up this post, I will say that I sincerely hope that 2017 will be infinitely better than 2016. It has to be, right? I mean, the bar is set so low that it should be within the realm of possibility, so we´re counting on you, 2017! We´re very, very easily impressed.


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