This is where it falls apart
I feel helpless as my fucking world comes crashing down on me"
Just kidding. I did as well as I could on my exam, and now it's out of my hands. You know how sometimes you're walking downhill and you hit a patch of ice and start to skid? You're supposed to sort of let your body take over because it's better at balancing unconsciously than consciously. Life is like that a lot of times. Just be ready to put your feet down at speed when you regain traction (I did this once on the Slope, and the only thing more exciting than sliding down a steep hill on ice at 20 mph is when the ice stops and you have to run downhill at that speed until you can stop—being careful of course not to step on any more ice). Before and during the test, I thought: "I will not lie down. I will not go quietly." and "I ain't goin out like that; no. I ain't goin out like that." Life is fucking scary, but no way is self-doubt making me its bitch. Shit, cancer is at least a proper monster. A massive heart attack is a fucking beast. But self-doubt? C'mon, there's better things to be done in by.
I stayed after the exam as they were filming a documentary (and we all know what a ham I am). The professor specifically singled me out to be interviewed which a) means he noticed me out of a class of... 350? and b) thought I would elocute myself in a manner exemplary of the class (meaning all those times I opened my mouth causing him to notice me, I didn't make an ass of myself). He said that I was the most loquatious (probably the dancing to James Brown stuck out in his memory as well; I suggested on Tuesday that they use "Brick House" next year, which seemed to delight him). They gave me a brief (30 second?) interview where they asked me how I thought I did on my exams (I embellished a little; I said "above average" when she asked me to rate my performance). I also said "3.0; that's what most grad schools are looking for." What a sell-out. In reality, fuck grad schools (except the one that eventually find this journal through dilligent googling; you motherfuckers are the bomb). I know I'm a good candidate, and getting better every day. I'll convince at least one of them somehow.
Still, it's nice to know I still "stick out" in classes, no matter how large. I've never had raised-hand-latency; I'm pretty fearless about answering questions in class. I hope that this will carry the day when it comes time to beg recommendation letters. Because hey, what professor doesn't want to see me 20 years from now raise my hand, stand up at a conference, and say "Bullshit," clearly and resolutely to one of their colleagues in the field. That's always good for a laugh at these stuffy conferences and colloquia and whatnot, right? Regardless, and as devoid as possible of any "butt-kissing" I thanked the professor for making the very dry subject of the law interesting and made sure he got my e-mail to forward my grades to the dean. He thanked me right back for being in the class, which was quite nice of him. I swear, I'd get along with my professors much more if I weren't so afraid of seeming like I was trying to kiss up or ponying for a L.o.R. I really did have awesome professors this semester, and my Africana prof was especially great at bridging the gap between student and instructor. It really helped a lot this semester.
Realizing that there are outside forces also responsible for how I do is simultaneously frustrating and liberating. The weight of the world is not on my shoulders, no matter how much I want it to be. I was reading about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy yesterday, thanks to a link from ikkyu2, and some of the things it says about control and attribution (remember my love for the locus of control?) reflect very much what I was doing with my therapist in New Jersey. Assuming control of every situation is bad wu wei and becomes burdensome. Just as a manager must delegate to employees, each individual must learn at times to let go. It may not improve circumstances themselves, but you will enjoy things more. Isn't that interesting? Trying not to control things so much means you may actually enjoy them more (not less). It seems obvious when you write it out like that, but in practice, it's counterintuitive. People think they will enjoy things more if those things go "their way" rather than if they let them happen freely.
Try smiling when you hit that patch of ice. The exhilaration can be quite enjoyable! Whee!