Grinding On

It has been a tiring slog of a weekend in terms of hard graft working at my studies. It really is hard, being at the wrong side of forties, to resume formal studies after a long lay-off. My two subjects this semester are stretching me and I feel like I am never on top of things. I’m in the middle of an essay now which I’m struggling a bit with. The next one after that is due a month later (after the due date of the first one) and I have barely done any reading for that one. While I enjoy the knowledge building process, the work required to put all that learning together to form your own position and deliver it in a coherent and interesting and persuasive way is something else altogether.

So there I was in the library at about 9.30 on Saturday morning, after dropping off my dry cleaning and having coffee and breakfast with Tress. Last Saturday it was Kathy’s (the campus librarian) turn on duty and she was the military precision type when it came to closing time and at precisely 5 minutes to twelve she started turning off the lights and I had to gather all my stuff – laptop with cable, pencils and pens and highlighters, bits and pieces of papers and a couple of books I was borrowing – while sending off the first draft I had put together the past couple of hours, in an email so that I could work on it some more on the iPad at anytime.

It is bad enough that the library is only open on 2 weeknights and 3 hours on Sat morning, which means I could at best, spend no more than say 9 hours a week – the strict closing time often means I had to rush and basically had less than even the minimal hours already on hand. At least with the other alternating librarian/staff on Saturday (Yen) she wasn’t so strict and you could sort of just gather your stuff together just after the official closing time. I know Katie probably has a life on Sat afternoons that she has to go to, good on her really – I just need to be more disciplined and keep time better I guess.

I guess discipline is the key. Last night for example as I was finishing up, I went past the lounge for a refill of my tea in the kitchen. I turned on the television as I waited for the kettle to boil and SBS had a documentary on Margaret Thatcher’s last days. Guys like Kenneth Clarke, Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkin, Nigel Lamont and even Michael Heseltine were being interviewed (amongst others, including people whose names did not register but had close and intimate knowledge of the events which unfolded). They even had footage of her first public appearance/interview 6 months after leaving 10 Downing Street, which included close up’s of her in tears. She was one of the greatest British PM ever and the documentary was telling the incredible story of her last days when she was being dumped.

So needless to say I stayed glued and forgot all about the Jesus’ deliberate acts of messianic implications I was reading and writing about, until pretty late. Discipline – I don’t have it, at least not yet, to properly accomplish my studies in a worthy manner. I hope (and think I will) get by and finish the course (a Dip Grad) and hopefully go on to do a Masters but I had harboured hopes of excelling in it. Until I learn to ignore even gems like that Margaret Thatcher documentary however, I am unlikely to get anywhere near the sort of scholarship I dream of.

Anyway, that was the weekend I had – just plain and hard slog in that sense.

We did have a very pleasant distraction of having Jermel over on Sat night however – Alex and Li Har had a full moon dinner and asked if we could look after him. He was very easy and even fun to look after. He spent most of the time on his “Little Einstein” DVD series and  his dad’s iPad (how does a 1.5 year old know what to do with an iPad?) but I also enjoyed playing with him in the backyard with the little black jedi, as well as play his gigantic lego building blocks with him. They came for him around 10pm, we conveniently forgot to remind them about end of daylight saving, and I waited around for the Man Utd game against West Ham. To my horror however, I think Foxtel had the schedule wrong because when I turned it on at 11.30 the second half had just started and the score was 2-0 in the Hammers’ favour. I was near distraught but thought I’d watch anyway (of course) to see what happens. What a turnaround by Rooney and gang. His hattrick and Chicharito’s sliding connection with Giggsy’s low cross completed a 2-4 overhaul. Chelsea and Arsenal’s unexpected draws made that even sweeter. It was a very positive step towards overtaking the Fools in total league titles won.

We had to be in church early the next day, as Tress was on creche duty.

We had a really good church service. The speaker probably didn’t think so and I feel we may have short-change him in the sense that we ended up giving him only a less than 30 minutes for his sermon. Pastor had taken some time with sharing some needs of a few members and had people break up into small groups for prayer. It wasn’t an extensive sort of detour – just a quick “turn around and pray with your neighbour” sort of thing. But it did take up some time.  Thankfully, the speaker we had – TT Quah – was the adaptable and quick footed type who was on cue straight away and played along.

After the fantastic service, it was my turn to lead the basic lesson series – something I have also had to spend time preparing for this past week and put aside a few hours on Sat to review, more hard graft.  Like United’s victory over the weekend, my weekend was also hard graft but satisfying.