One and a half weeks into School, What works and what doesn’t
It’s a week and a half since school started, and I think now is a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned so far, in order that I might pass my tests better later on, and improve my habits as necessary.
My professors are each different people with different ways of organizing similarly structured material. It’s fascinating how the general idea of taking a class for one semester in college at KU can differ so much, from instructor to instructor. It’s strange, because I’m still not really sure what people are talking about, when they talk about research and the difference between real life. I’m starting to wonder if I don’t just belong in grad school eventually, but for the time being, who knows.
Either way, some things are working, and some things aren’t. I’ve been able to complete assignments on time, which of course, has been slightly been influenced by having fewer assignments. However, not really. My professors put more weight on assessments and project-based testing, so from what I can tell, I am mostly responsible for my own learning. The goal is that I would do that in order to actually learn, and not pass a test. I’m not sure that all people would do that, but then again, I’m pretty sure that some of my classes are delightfully irregular from yesterday’s standard 300 person lecture hall on course concepts I could quite literally Wikipedia. There is some security in knowing that there in some oversight in what I learn; at least two people believe it’s the truth (Wikipedia and my professor; lol, a little joke). It’s nice to have that oversight. But, given how much the truth can change (and has lately) in such a small window of time, I have yet to figure out so much of the stuff I see all around me, like ticking cogs of a clock.
I have yet to get in the pattern of knowing what to expect, and how to structure my schedule and organization, in order to better remember my assignments. As organized as I am, I spend a lot of time in my head, and it causes me to forget things that I absorb in passing, as I am multitasking and trying to analyze pretty much everything. I like it that way, but if I allow myself to consistently think constantly (default setting when I’m alone), then I have to often physically stop and attempt to remember what I have just heard if I notice it in passing; it’s like wrenching myself out of another rabbit-hole reality into the present moment.
So I forget things here and there. The weird thing is that with all the organizational schemes I have devised, and even the small amounts of effort my professors put out to jog my memory, that is often all I miraculously need. It still feels like forgetting, and it is. But it’s early enough in the semester that sometimes I can get the work I need to done (to the extent it needs explored) briefly before class, after referencing my calendar to satisfy the nagging feeling of having forgotten. It’s like you left your garage door open, but perpetually. Nevertheless, the things that I most value always come back. I can’t explain that fully, and it isn’t always fair. Sometimes I forget to make important phone calls to family and things like that. It isn’t always because I don’t want to (sometimes that can exist…) but it can often be because I allowed myself to not pay attention, accepting that I was too busy for that 48 hour (or less) “time being”, and wanting to spend the effort on another occasion, when I could have time to spaciously enjoy it. Family is like that.
It doesn’t help when friends and family don’t reach out, though. I will forget here and there, and even if I’ve forgotten, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to talk to you. But sometimes, if you want to talk to me, the only way to make that known fully is to actually say something. That should be common sense. But sometimes if someone casually talks to you on Facebook, that can mean that they miss you, and just don’t think it’s necessary to directly say so. It can be necessary, because if you want to talk, I may not always realize that unless you directly say so. It just is.
The flipside of that is that, even if I forget, I hope that the people I love would know that I wouldn’t do it to hurt them. I can’t guarantee that; it isn’t my choice. But I can live my life well and see what happens.
Another thing that I could do better is to allow myself to slow down in situations where not being slow (in thoughts, movements, reactions, etc) could unnerve other people, and distract them from listening.
This is not to say it is my responsibility per se, but I am a student, and I’d also like my other student friends to learn too. If they get distracted constantly my me tapping my foot, maybe I can focus on calming my brain by really focusing in on what the professor has to say. Now, like hell if most people can do this. But I can, if I try. So I should, maybe. If I allow my heart rate to slow down and listen to the words (sometimes avoiding eye contact and just calming down through listening), maybe it will help others listen better too. And if the goal is to just remember and be a stabilizing force in the world, even in the classroom, I should probably do that.
Sometimes, I really disagree with my professors, the ideas they present, and/or they way that they speak. I don’t think that is a bad thing. They can annoy me, but that doesn’t make them bad people. I would hope they carry the same respect for me. I will choose to ignore it, and give them the respect they ask for, as I continuously deduce what they really meant. If I know what someone means and it isn’t what they directly said, I should probably just give them brownie points in my brain for trying and maybe not doing it perfectly. It’s okay to not be perfect. I’m just happy that they are making an effort. Truly, teaching is difficult, and very few people are technically trained as teachers. Kudos to my professors for being nice enough to try and not be jerks by apathy.
Yep, that’s what I’ve got for now. I found recently that if I read dense material aloud (like 2nd grade), it helps me retain it, as well as visualize it. I’m a visual person in how I problem solve and fit the different facets of the world into each other, so that just makes sense.
I like getting to know my classmates. When I get really caught up in what I’m learning, I mimic it. I can’t necessarily describe it, but the attitude that comes with the course material is like the feeling you would get reading a poem; it is something that can change your entire perspective (even for brief periods of time), if you let it. I feel like I emerge from these alternate realities when I leave my classes sometimes. It’s like escaping back into the real world, and then allowing some things to naturally drift away. That’s why I take notes. The colors and images and feelings will come back just as vividly when I read the words, and those feelings will help me remember the nonsense language of interpreting certain kinds of research. I’m not really sure what is going on in my brain when that happens, but I picked out this special symbol on my Driver’s license that gives them the right to crack me open like a walnut someday (lol #usemybodyforscience). Idk how far that stretches, but if they want my brain, they’ll find a way.
I’m going to be real honest here for a second, as tangent. Sometimes when I think like this, and I allow myself to share it, I feel like I’m going to end up miserably single for the rest of my life. I don’t know how many people think this much. I don’t know how many people would actually value this in a partner, because there would probably be no escape to it. Most people get tired of things like this, after a time. Part of me panicking about the future comes from a startling awareness that this will probably never change, and getting caught up in the middle of feeling like I have to choose between being fully smart (as I was made) or having a family. I hate that I feel that way, and I hope to God that it isn’t true. But I’m not really sure how many people would have enough stamina to willfully put up with how much I think and how much I want to share. It makes me scared, and then I take a deep breath and allow myself to process it and realize that I will probably end up happy regardless. But it’s terrifying to feel so alone when you literally cannot stop thinking and you have no words for how paralyzing that can be when others judge it. It scares me.
Breeeeeeeeeathe. Breathe. Breeeeeeathe. Ok, almost back to normal. But frick, some of these things can be just as vividly terrifying as the vividness of really being happy. It just is, and it’s not really bad, because it ends pretty quickly. But man, is that a reality I struggle to live against.
Anyways, I’m happy I’m at school. It’s my place, at least for now. I was looking through some old baby photos to text to my sister, and it makes me laugh to see the same antics on a smaller version of my body. I took a lot of terrible photos, because I was constantly aware of cameras when they were around. I made the best of that, whether or not I realized it. It’s hilarious, because the same derpy “Just take the stupid picture” attitude conflicts with genuinely having a good time and really experiencing life fully. The most hurtful thing I have ever done to friends is to tell them that they are terribly people for experiencing life to the fullest (as I do), when I hated it in myself. But it’s interesting, because even as a kid, the desire to live well, laugh, and be a goof was just there, and it was extremely visible.
Can you apologize for anything? I know that I have some apologies to make going forward, but I trust God to bring those circumstances about. I really don’t want to deal with it, but I get the feeling that seeing people in cycles like I do, the right people will resurface at the right time for me to ask forgiveness. I’m not going to want to. But at least then I will be prepared, and I will know upon seeing them that it is something I just need to do. The most haunting moments come from being unable to apologize.
I’ve got to do something else for a while, which may or may not include homework. Life goes on, and that knowledge calms me down. That, and Jesus. I’m going to save this document, put it on WordPress, and slip into yet another reality.