Things are already getting pretty depressing around here, and it’s only 0th week. We’re in a situation where third years are all hitting eight hours a day, each day now, for some people up to ten, which is good because it convinces me that I can do it too. I had a pretty worked up time yesterday and this morning where I struggled severely with a topic in philosophy and got very worried about my chances in these exams. Basically, if I stick to doing a lot of work every single day, I can do it. I’m pretty sure this is true. The work I’ve done in advance of now, over Easter, is good stuff but it’s nowhere near as useful as what’s going to happen in the next four weeks because that stuff just floats on out of my head.

Despite the fact that I had an excellent term last term, I still wasn’t doing that many hours per day, and so now that’s what I was managing before today: about five hours each day. And so I remain dogged by the fact that I haven’t built up a good work ethic; more than five is very hard for me. It’s important not to blame yourself too much for bad habits. Aristotle had all the right ideas on this stuff: ‘we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.’ But to become virtuous we must first be continent: we must make ourselves act as the virtuous person does, until it comes naturally and without thought.

This evening though I’m feeling more confident that I can go for it now and make the time count. I’ve taken on three hours a week working at the philosophy library, which is fine, because it’s in hours of the day that aren’t especially productive ones for me, and it’s good to do something other than academic work and relaxation, which this represents. So basically I shouldn’t blame myself, just get on with it and see. If I get a 2:1 in philosophy, then I’ll have to just get a first next year and take a gap year so that I can apply for graduate study along with the better fourth year grade.

Despite writing this, still scared. Going to do it anyway, though.