Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pseudo-Journal (and School Update)

Feb 8, 2012 12:13am
I want to journal, but do not want to handwrite, so…

I’ve been feeling bored, overwhelmed, apathetic, and stressed all at the same time. I think a lot of this comes down to the fact that my attention span has diminished severely. I find it impossible to focus on one thing, with the exception of while I am in class. I’ve been listening to music constantly and have created the most perfect Pandora radio station. Rather, a shuffle of three stations: dance club, fast dance, and dubstep. I also found a site called top rave songs. I will make my own rave. This past weekend, at least twice, I stopped myself from being ridiculously over-tasked. But I sincerely wanted to listen to music, read, and watch a movie all at the same time. How did I expect to be able to do that? Perhaps I desire to keep myself occupied. And this desire to be over-tasked and distracted only further compounds my struggles with my attention span. This past weekend, I was working on some reading, only to keep interrupting myself every ten or so minutes by checking Facebook or using Stumbleupon or so on.

I feel entirely overwhelmed looking at my calendar and so many of my moments are booked full. One of my friends requested that I ask for help in some way and I said all I really need is more moments in the day so that I can go see my counselor. Monday was fairly full, although I still made time for a two-hour nap. Wednesday will likewise be packed. Work 8-10a, TB results 10a, breakfast, class 11-11:50a, class 12-12:50p, lunch?, volunteer orientation in Harrisonburg 4p, tutoring 5:30p. Oh boy. But that’s okay. During Monday, I realized that maybe what I need is to be kept busy. Maybe that’s what my over-tasking was trying to achieve. Alone in the apartment all weekend, I tried to keep myself busy with the internet, but it didn’t quite work. I didn’t fully enjoy it and I did not keep myself busy with anything particularly productive. Although I did go to an excellent basketball game and a good super bowl party. This brings me to my next two concerns.

I don’t fully enjoy things. I painted tonight and I think I realized part of the reason why I don’t fully enjoy things. Most obviously, most of what I do is school. Therefore, most of what I no longer enjoy is school. This is particularly worrisome and stressful for me because I am such a conscientious student and have always fully-enjoyed school, even if it is a series of hoops. But school, conscientious schooling, involves a fairly high degree of meticulousness. I don’t exactly fully-enjoy piano, but that is nothing new, since I have never liked to play piano when I am even minimally upset. Outside activities (i.e., pretty much anything that gets me out of the apartment and around other people) are probably the most enjoyed. Again, probably because it is a form of distraction. I painted tonight. It was a fairly meticulous painting and, all the while I was painting it, I felt anxious and frustrated. It was too meticulous for my current mood, current life position, and current understanding of the world. I feel messy. I don’t fully enjoy things that require conscientiousness. This stirs anxiety because I need to be conscientious about school. So far, so good, I believe. That will come later.

I don’t feel particularly productive. I have forgotten what I wanted to say about this. I’m getting my work done and, so far, it’s been getting done well. As far as daily assignments (regular reading, mostly), I’ve been staying about a day ahead. As far as additional small assignments, I am further ahead. And larger assignments? I have been brainstorming.

So, after all of that, I have two main worries. I’m not sure how much I actually want to say about these. First, that of money. this is my last undergraduate semester and I want to fully enjoy (lol) it with some semblance of sanity. Sheesh. This means that I want to go out for my birthday and I want to go to local dubstep and other live shows. Attainable. I am going to the International Students for Liberty Conference next weekend. Attained. The only obstacle left is budgeting enough for gas money. Second, I need to be resilient enough so that I am functioning well enough by the time I leave for graduate school. Graduate school is largely tied to my monetary concerns. I will most likely be looking into on-campus graduate housing. And yes, I looked at those graduate school scholarships and marked them as important for the near future. The deadlines are far enough away as of yet.

The other main worry that I now understand is that it is less about my depression or my questionable mental stability and more about the fact that the trauma has severely impaired my coping skills. What this means is that any minor drama or conflict feels like way too much for me to handle. I have two recent examples and one current example of this. Confidentiality. Similarly, reading the emotionally-charged book, 9 Highland Road, for class is too much for me to feel. What must be done, must be done. It’s a really good book, it just makes me cry and/or induces a panic attack.

Along this same line is the fact that there is no way I could handle a costly crisis if it were to arise in the immediate future.

Lastly, my memory has also been severely impaired, although it seems to come and go in waves. Maybe when too much of my brain is struggling with trying to cope with ridiculousness, it gets worse? On Sunday I made a note card for the whole week and a note card for each day. Tonight, I added to today’s note card just so that I could accomplish some tasks between dinner and sleep.


As far as school goes?

I’ve stopped reading for this course because everything that I had read was thoroughly discussed by the professor through his PowerPoint presentation and there was no reason for me to get the same information so many times. When I had been reading, I would mostly doze in class. Now I don’t read and pay attention in class. Perfect. We’ve had some reading quizzes. No big deal. We had a written assignment to redesign a poor study of the Atkins diet. I threw around terms like standard deviation. No big deal. We had an assignment to practice making a concept map to answer the question, “Who am I?” The minimum was ten concepts. I didn’t count mine, but just my genealogy was twenty-three. So, way more than twenty-three. When the professor returned this assignment to us on Monday, he told me that he was going to keep mine for another day so that he could photocopy it as an example of an excellent concept map. Holla. What? The assignment that is due Friday (which I may or may not have completed already) was to listen to an hour long radio segment about bioengineering and write a reaction-reflection paper in response to it. My favorite line that I wrote said something like, “Why do we need to create new species when we cannot even keep the ones we already have from going extinct?” Cheeky.

Biology Lab
Eh. Too much time, not enough credit. What else is new. We’ve eaten popsicles and are currently growing bacteria to test next week. We have to do a semester research project, for which I am partners with a Psychology major, so we are doing a study of a Psychology topic that relates to Biology. The hardest part for me will be keeping it simple.

Comparative Politics
I’ve come to love the non-structure of this course. The readings are minimal, so that’s nice. Theoretically, I wouldn’t have to read for this course, but the professor is just a tiny bit too scatter-brained for me to feel comfortable relying on his PowerPoint presentations and lectures. Our first assignment was to design a brand new state. The values I emphasized were collectivism/interdependence, harm-reduction, and stewardship. For collectivism/interdependence, I want a regime that would make decisions only through consensus, which would require compromise until every citizen was willing to submit to the decision in question. For harm-reduction, I want laws like Amsterdam that are only concerned with the prevention of harm to self and to others. For stewardship, I want a local food network, so that food would not have to be transported or ripened artificially. Our second assignment was to outline the formation, strength, and performance of a particular state, using our textbook, the failed states index, and the human development index. My assigned country was China. We will present this information on Wednesday and turn in the written portion on Wednesday or Friday. Guess when I am turning in my written portion.

Public Mental Health
This is probably my most stressful course, not in regards to workload, but in regards to course content. There’s not really much else to say about this course, as we’ve only had one miniscule graded assignment. On a weekly basis, we must submit a chapter outline and five multiple choice questions written for the chapter in order to evaluate our having completed the textbook reading. These are due on the Friday of each week. I have had mine done by Monday so that I can bring a printed copy to class and take notes on that. The précis/integration exercise model of reading notes and in-class note-taking is the best. Thanks, other professor.

This course is with that (précis) professor. The capstone course for Sociology majors, I love it. For the three self-guided papers we have to write, I will be discussing community in regards to 1) spontaneous community vis-à-vis HOBY, 2) spatial proximity vis-à-vis dorm vs. apartment vs. house, and 3) community transition vis-à-vis moving from high school to college. For my final project, I will most likely be constructing a scrapbook of my three years at Bridgewater, which will be integrated with a content analysis of this scrapbook.

Interventive Methods and Social Work Practice
Not much to say about this course. My reading quiz answers today were pretty much fluff. They made sense to me, although I did not use the textbook terminology, so we shall see. For this course, I will be completing twenty hours of volunteer/shadowing work at a nearby age-integrated day care center.

Library Work
Same old, same old.

Tutoring Work
Same old, same old.

Piano and Jazz Band
Same old, same old.

I’m hungry. Time for bed. 12:59am.

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