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Wish me well, it’s my birthday and I’m writing Newsletter #9
Not Doing Things
It’s my 38th birthday. December 12th, 1983 was the day I was born. I think it was a Wednesday.
This is going to be a relatively short email, about spending too long not doing things, and then realising that it’s OK not to do them sometimes.
A WhatsApp Study Group
So, there’s a really helpful WhatsApp group for a big number of the first year Master of Wine students. We share info and research and that, and I find it a nice pep-talk. As with all WhatsApp groups, they’re bound be be a bit much for some people, and any of us can interact as much as we want, but it’s a useful resource.
This week, a couple of members shared some (really) extensive and time consuming research on the wines tasted across the MW exams, going back a long way. Ridiculously thorough. It included a computer programme that cross references past questions and wines, generated a numbered-cross-referenced copy for their local wine retailer and one for themselves.
I’ve done none of that, and I’m not giving myself a hard time about it.
Everyone else on the course seems to be deep diving into tasting grids, and extensive practice, shopping lists and pouring over notes and essays.
We’ve paid to complete a number of marked practice essays with feedback, they’re optional, but it’s understood that we’ll complete them.
I can’t decide if being thoroughly underwhelmed (that is the opposite of overwhelmed for this context) by the looming practice exams, and longer term preparation I see others putting in is naïve, or just plain disorganised.
Perhaps the lack of pressure I’m putting on myself will be my downfall, perhaps over pressurising myself would be equally counterproductive.
Putting The Effort In
I’ve mentioned my structure so far, building modular answers, learning how to tackle the question, rather than finding out the answer to the question.
I’m the black sheep of the WhatsApp group, or are the most vocal the loud-minority? I wonder that I’m just part of a silent majority, students worrying about judging themselves against the huge effort by a few.
I’ll squirrel myself away, with my own path, as I always do. Plan my own structure. One of the biggest pieces of advice I had going into the MW is that you can’t do it on your own. But, what if everyone else makes you feel like you’re not trying hard enough?
It’s a hard circle to square, and perhaps my MW-life crisis is starting early. I’m safe in the knowledge that I won’t be done with the course before I’m 40, so I’ll just string that along until whatever comes next.
I’m not a melancholic, overly thoughtful person, I’m often referred to as ‘too laid back’. Borderline aloof! I’m cool with that. This newsletter might read a little sombre, but it’s not intended that way.
I’m cool with my own study plan, and I’m cool seeing other people do well, throw themselves into their plans and studies. It’s actually beautiful to be connected to fellow students through a place to share research and study.
About a week in, I dropped a excel sheet into the group chat too, and maybe I made someone else feel then how I feel today.
Maybe it’s just my birthday and I want to wallow a little bit.