A little incident the other night made me realise something that I probably knew in the back of my mind: My memory is like a sieve. And I know that I already knew this but it’s the kind of thing that is not easy to admit.
The “incident” in question was a facebook conversation where the name of a deceased Spanish actor/singer was brought up. “He IS dead???” was my immediate answer, to which my friend replied: “A long time ago; and not only that, but I am also sure that it was you who made a comment about it in the Spaniards forum”
Well, I thought for a while about this. I tried to refresh my memory and I even went to the Spaniards forum to try to see when I posted this. I couldn’t remember anything, and I didn’t find anything in the forum (I didn’t look for that long, to tell you the truth). This, however, does not mean that I didn’t know about it or that it wasn’t me who made a comment about it back in 2007. It just means that my memory really is a sieve and I am only capable of holding certain information in my brain.
I’ve had far too many examples like this one during most part of my life, and that is why I am not ashamed in admitting this now. It’s not new. I am not surprised that it keeps happening. I always knew it would happen to me too…
Growing up, I was never taught how to study. At home I didn’t have a structure or study routine. My mum never “asked me the lesson” or worried too much about my homework. In school I was a disaster, the type of child that you immediately judge and think: “She’s not going to get very far in life”. I was disruptive, rude, played truant far too often and my school grades were hopeless. The inevitable had to happen: I had to repeat 6th course (Year 8 in the UK).
This was one of the best things that could have happened to me in life. Suddenly I was socialising with a very different type of people who were influencing me in a very good way, who encouraged me to do better in school, and who I felt very comfortable with. This new group of friends were the typical swots and nerds that normally I wouldn’t have wanted to have anything to do with, but now, in this new stage of my life they were my saviours.
They made me want to be a better pupil and suddenly I wanted to do good in school. But I struggled, because I was lacking the basics. I had never learnt how to study properly and I was finding the whole thing quite difficult. I cheated in exams. A lot. I even got caught a few times… But that was almost my only way of passing exams.
I finished primary school without much glory and went into secondary school very scared. I was no longer in my comfort zone, with my nerdy friends who helped me and encouraged me. I kept trying very hard, though. I did my homework and studied as much as I could. My grades were improving, and I still feel quite proud that my third year of BUP (Year 12 or 13 in the UK – the year before taking A levels) was my best ever. I had a couple of “sobresalientes” (mark: 9 or 10 out of 10) and a few “notables” (mark: 7 or 8 out of 10), and I wasn’t cheating in exams so much…
By the time I got to Uni I was confident enough that I could study to pass exams ok. But that was, and still is, my main problem: I study to pass an exam and afterwards the information abandons my brain leaving no sign of ever having been there. I am ashamed to admit that I remember very little of everything I learnt at Uni. It pains me too, especially when I am talking about English history or literature, or things that I learnt and I am supposed to know.
It’s different with work. I’ve been working for 6 and a half years at my company and people say that I am very good at what I do. My work is acknowledged and appreciated, and I’ve never suffered any major memory problems related to my job. The difference is, and now I know, is that there is a constant with my job. I do it everyday, and the knowledge and skills that I’ve developed over these past 6 and a half years are constantly being used. I rarely talk about the evolution of the English language in the Middle Ages, because it’s something that I don’t need (despite the fact that History of the English Language was one of my favourite subjects and the one that I enjoyed the most).
I do not regret having coursed English Studies at Uni, though. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is what I wanted to do. If I had tried to enrol in some other more-productive course I would have been very miserable and probably quit after a little while. Despite the fact that I wish I had had those skills when I started work.
It’s just funny how I am able to hold certain information and not some other. If only there was a cure…. I don’t want to even think of what I’m going to be like in old age….