Crouched on the bed, trembling in the foetal position hugging a tissue box, wailing and letting loose sobs that could no longer be controlled whence away from peering eyes.
Soul-crushed; knowing that everything I've worked for is gone. Just like that. Just by the most cruel stroke of bad luck in the world.
I analysed all the past year papers. Plotted my answer strategy. Memorised my cases and articles frontwards and backwards until I could finally recite my essays with my eyes closed. It had worked for every exam in my life.
But the perfect answer is useless if there is no corresponding question. Topics that had been examiner darlings all refused to come out and play. Leaving me with the pieces to the wrong puzzle.
It took all my willpower not to break down in the exam room. Just bullshit your way through, I kept telling myself, putting out line after line and desperately clawing at any opening I could, knowing all the while that it wouldn't work.
The customer wanted lobster but I gave him steak. It was probably an amazing steak; cooked to the perfect medium rare, where the knife slices through initial resistance to a fully pink centre, with tender juiciness in every bite. But what good is a perfect steak if he doesn't eat beef?
What am I good for now?
I'm nothing without my results, and everyone knows it. I have no skills and no talents; the only thing I'm good at is memorising chunks of facts and churning out a perfect report card year after year. Take that away from me and I have nothing to offer.
Was I arrogant? When friends said things like "if Julia can't do it, no one can", did I think that I would do better than everyone else?
No. I knew it was all the luck of the draw. At any moment, the worst possible twist of fate could strike someone down when they clearly did not deserve it. I just never expected it to happen to me.
Not to me. Not my first law paper.
Now I have to walk into the exam hall again and again and again, knowing that it doesn't even matter any more. No matter how well I do on my next paper, I've already screwed up the first. In the whole scheme of things, there's just no chance of succeeding anymore.
There's no first class anymore.
Might as well say it: I wanted a first class, and I believed with all my heart I could achieve it. I was working my ass off everyday. I was stressing myself out so much I repeatedly broke down. I cried almost everyday thinking about my exams.
I wanted so badly for it to happen. I wanted to be able to go home with my head held high. I wanted to make my family proud. I wanted to do my own intelligence justice.
Everytime I broke down, I told myself to remember what I was working towards: Julia Chow. First class honours LLB.
The dream that will not come to be.
I didn't tell anyone about the dream. It just seemed like such an arrogant thing to say, even if I would've only told it to a select few close friends. Now I'm thankful I didn't because I would've done nothing but embarrass myself. The stuck-up bitch who thought she was a genius? Turned out to be the biggest idiot.
I didn't want a second upper, because it's just so freaking commonplace. Everyone and their dog gets a second upper. To think now I might be dumber than everyone's dogs.
It changes nothing though. I still don't want a second upper. There's nothing special about it, and against the complete blankness that is my CV, having never worked a day in my life, I'm just going to be another average Jane that somehow thought she was special. And that's assuming I somehow even manage to get a second upper with today's crappy paper.
I literally have no idea how I'm going to bring myself to work for the other papers anymore. My drive is gone. I don't have a dream to work towards anymore.
I'm just a girl who went to the UK and wasted all her parents money by not getting a first class. And got fat(ter).
All I want now is to go home and forget this nightmare.