I just remembered, as I settled up my homework for the day. My tutor said he would have the assignment graded within a week and it’s been at least ten days. I put my books away (these days, that just means folded into a pile on the kitchen table, as I’m doing the work daily now) and logged into my school’s portal, to the same page I’d submitted the assignment to.
There it is.
A creeping, building flood washes first into my chest. This, followed by a slight tingling in my fingers when finally, my mind takes hold and begins to wonder. It’s not like I’m expecting news of a new pregnancy or about to fight a stranger – no – this is a very particular, familiar kind of anxiety. The type that comes with your teacher walking down the isle’s, passing out marked test papers. The kind that comes with filtering through the results of a hunting course, looking for ‘Dungey’ in the last name field.
I’m not even sure why I’m writing this down for the internet to digest, save for the possibility that somebody else might share the same experience and in turn, we might both know that this reaction is a normal, if somewhat unwanted reaction to being graded. There’s a certain kind of worry that comes with being marked on the work I’ve completed. It’s not shared by publishing things to the internet, where in some cases you’re even more harshly judged by keyboard warriors. Instead, it’s more tied to me personally, a true expression of knowledge. Maybe it’s that I hope I know enough to actually prove it to someone who ‘matters’, in this case, my tutor – but maybe it’s just the feeling of being judged against something concrete.
We don’t have a lot of opportunity to have ourselves put up against our efforts in the public sphere. We all share moments with ourselves right before we fall asleep or when we stand in front of ourselves in the bathroom mirror where honest, actual emotion gets to bleed through the chaos of social media, constant news and the flurry of day to day life. Maybe that’s it, too – it’s being judged openly and honestly. In a world where we’re all afraid to offend, we don’t have a whole lot of practise in being offended or even being questioned on our thoughts and actions.
In all, I’m happy with my performance on my first graded assignment from Athabasca University. I got an 80% evenly. Still, that familiar friend, the anxiety of being graded, is welcomed back to my house in the wee hours of the morning.