Sweet, sweet victory

Ana holding her baby's handOn the 18th I got my results. While I was very tempted to publish a post a few hours after having checked my results, in the end I decided to wait at least 24 hours to cool off and I am glad I did. My previous post felt a bit like I was bragging, and that was not my aim at all.

Well, here it goes: I have achieved my best grades up until now.

You cannot imagine how this feels to me: “Like victory”. Yes, sure, but it is a little bit more than that. At the beginning of the year I told you my studies had become a way to reconnect with myself. With a part of me getting blurred out by all the new feelings of maternity, my studies became the only thing that did not make me feel like a human pacifier or a teddy bear or just a plain old mattress to sleep on top of.

And of course, there is always that little voice. That malevolent whisper telling you that you are going to fail, or worse, that you are going to fail and, in addition, you have been neglecting your daughter. This year I have grappled not only with authors and works, I have also battled this little voice, constantly, every day, it has been a war of attrition. As Nietzsche said in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself”. It certainly felt like that to me.

In addition of being a first-time mum, I am also an expat, which complicates things a lot. The Little One goes to daycare four to five hours in the mornings, during which I had to squeeze all the coursework I could do. We had a critical moment when The Little One got sick in the middle of revision month, and although it was challenging to say the least, it helped me immensely in rationalising my schedule and my goals.

Luckily, I had unconditional support and words of encouragement and wisdom from friends and family, even from afar. In fact, they all knew that I was going to do better than I thought. Some of them patiently read my essays, even though they had no clue of literature, and always found something to cheer me up and keep me going. Please, remember how vital it is to surround yourself with people that understand your goals and help you in pursuing them – I know it played a big role in not giving up when things got hard.

The result is that, as of now, I have officially finished level 4 and I can fully concentrate my attention on the upcoming challenge of level 5. This coming year I intend to sit for three examinations instead of two, as I used to do. I was waiting for the results to decide what my strategy would be, and I think I am ready to up the ante.

Despite many big and little things getting in my way, I still persevered through everything and dedicated myself, and I feel like I got exactly what I deserve. It is probably the first time I feel like the grades I got are completely fair and really correspond with the amount of hours dedicated to studying. I am going on vacation to Spain in two weeks, and I go feeling fully at peace with myself and looking forward to a fun summer.

Hope you did well on your examinations!

Ana is studying the BA English by distance learning in Luxembourg.

12 thoughts on “Sweet, sweet victory

  1. You are welcome 😊. Your blog is really awesome and inspiring. Please continue blogging and inspire people around you 😊. And if you can please do visit my blog and let me know about it. It would be really helpful 😊. This is the link to my blog

    http:// authorabhijith.com


  2. Hi Ana, i am new to this whole ‘studying independently’ thing. My situation is actually pretty similar to yours, i am an expat in South Africa, my wife is the one working full time and i am a full time dad now, i just started banking and finance and i am already feeling caught up, although examinations will be next year there is a lot of information to go through. Any tips on time management? Did you started one course at a time or more than one ? how many weeks and hours per day are you dedicating?

    Thanks, your post is really inspiring for me.


  3. Hi Jorge,
    It is great to see part of your story as well here. It would be great to hear more about it! In case you would be interested to write a blog article about your balancing independent studies and fatherhood, it would be great for this student blog! Just contact us on blogs@london.ac.uk


  4. Hi Jorge,

    I totally get how you feel and your questions are the same I had when I started, I’ll try to answer them to your satisfaction:

    I do have a few posts about time management or how my daily routine looks like: https://londoninternational-blog.com/2017/11/03/a-day-in-my-study-schedule/

    When I started I began by doing two modules per year. Last year I did three modules, and this year I’m doing four. In my opinion, an incremental approach is better because you can become better acquainted with the basic modules and with the examinations.

    As to time, that depends, but roughly, four hours each weekday, and weekends are off (except in revision month, around April, when I need any minute to practice examination questions and make sure I have understood everything). But you have to be flexible, specially when you are a stay-at-home dad. One day the tyke will get sick, and cannot be left at daycare, and you will have to brace yourself and make the most of it.

    Good luck!


  5. Thanks a lot for your response and time, i have just found a document called ‘strategies for success’ with a really interesting guide about time management and goals achievement. I will check the links you shared and again thanks a lot for taking the time to share your experiences and knowledge with the newbies.


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