Tag Archives: tired

After Thesis

It’s all over next Friday.  And when it is, I will:

Dinner for champions.

Wesshop dinner for champions.

1. Eat normal meals at normal hours.

2. Play basketball.

3. Go shopping.

4. Sleep.*

5. Read a novel.

6. Read on Foss.

7. See a movie.

8. Go out.

9. Host a party.

10. Go to class.

11. Actually do the reading for class.

12. Listen while I’m there.

13. Call my parents.

14. Cook.

15. Attend neglected friendships.

16. Work normal hours.

17. Do laundry.*

18. Talk about stuff other than my thesis.


*Actually might need to do before next Friday.






Flatbread Crackers & Cheese

DSC00988One time last semester, life was falling in pieces, or at least I thought it was.  I really can’t remember why I was upset.  I just know that I was in my spot on the Dennison steps, legs dangling a few feet above the heads of students walking below.   Judy came along behind me, and speaking the universal code that is I wish I could help but really can’t, she gave me food.  Flatbread crackers, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese has been my thing ever since.

I work on deadlines.  I always have.  Pretty sure the over-achiever, ambitious timelines I set fall in rhythm with my own heartbeat.  Supposing this connection were true, it would explain why not meeting deadlines of any kind, include my own, sets my pulse racing.

Watching an idea larger than I can properly explain come together has been the achievement of my academic life.  Admittedly, there are things far more important.  Likewise, a few dozen mostly coherent pages doesn’t really count for anything truly “academic.”  While its stolen my life, interests, time, relationships, sleep, and is about to get away with my sanity, a thesis is an exercise, not book.  If I’m a lucky, a dozen people will actually read it, and half of them will be either paid to do so or share my bloodline.

And yet, it’s all I want tonight, because it still matters.  The sophomoric (literally, cause I was a sophomore) Thursday night stomachache of fear and tension and not actually being fully convinced of my ability to make my deadline is setting on with prodigious force.

I spent most of the day camping out in the CSS library, a location with the unique advantage of being unoccupied, large enough to pace, and far enough away from anything that matters to yell at my computer without disturbing anyone.  The introduction I wanted to complete on Thursday is finally written and the rewrite of Part I is at last underweight, but the gaps, unwritten conclusion, edits, and eight days I have until I need a complete draft rise on my shallow breaths.

I’ve never run a marathon before, but I’m pretty sure this is the intellectual equivalent, and I’m doing it on flatbread crackers and cheese.

A few words

Fixed a widget to my desktop as a constant reminder to go back to writing.

Somewhere between (still) staring at the first two pages of chapter three and trying to force myself to focus, I made a declaration to that little crevasse of my heart that had somehow not given up on the possibility of one day working in academia.  Research after graduate school and the unspoken dream of book writing were simply never going to happen.  Ever.

Funny that my writing had never been so relevant to anyone as it was yesterday.

Late last night, sheltered away from Nemo’s wrath and tucked underneath every single blanket I own, a friend came in and sat on the edge of my bed.  I had just gotten warm, so I didn’t even sit up.  She proceeded to talk to me about her summer plans, applications, and all the other questions that don’t leave your mind when you’re in college and don’t know where you are going next. Eventually, she asked me a very serious and direct question about decision-making.

Sadly, I don’t actually remember the exact question, which might speak to poor listening skills, but I’m pretty sure I can’t remember it just because I was so overwhelmed with the answer.


Nemo from the inside of Exley

I had recently spent many hours untangling books, blogs, histories, videos, lectures, conversations, and ideas on the topic of her inquiry.  The only thing I had to show for it were those two pathetic pages in front of me.  But last night, instead of being a lamentably short introduction, those two pages were the clearest, most concise answer to my friend’s question.

Instead of adding to a muddled mess of thoughts, they helped.

Now, it is not lost on me that the realization that my words could matter for something came after I had an opportunity to share them with someone.  Discussing ideas always makes the good ones better and the bad ones obvious, but it was because I had driven myself mad writing them all down that I could offer a thoughtful, coherent answer to my friend.

All to say, as far as motivation to keep writing and belief that I can actually finish this in 61 days goes, last night was good.

Worst of the Best

Life is good, but it doesn’t always feel that way.

Last week, in CSS junior econ tutorial, transitioning economies, we investigated the relationship between stabilization and economic growth.  I argued that the two are necessarily tied.

google calendar

Stabilization didn’t guarantee any specific results, but growth doesn’t come without stabilization.  It’s a painful process, but one that pays off.

See, pain comes before growth. You know, like…

1. When exhaustion tunnels through lethargic legs and I can barely lift my head— and I still make it through 8 1/2 hours in food service.

2. When the part of my schedule out of my hands self-adjusts— to fit my needs (academically & sleep-wise).

3. When I bust my tail, write with all I got in me, and screw up— and the professor patiently meets with me (every week).

4. When people who usually yell at me— start calling me by name and saying thanks.

5. When post-semester abroad bank account— starts to look like a financial-savvy, broke college account again (emphasis on the starting).

6. When amazon saves the day—again.

7. When people I was waiting on—-email me back.

8. When I needed more hours— and the librarian gives me an extra 20 hours during finals week and agrees to take me on as regular staff (for next year).




Electronic Communications Captain

Verging on the front of blog failure…

The longest time between posts (ever) has just past and I am left with these thoughts.

1) In its own inexplicable way, I am facing “busyness” with a new urgency.  I literally could not let an hour pass today without a massive pileup of meaningful (read: necessitates a thoughtful response) emails.

2) I am in pain.

Yesterday, I hurt my back (again).  I’m always cautious about doing academic work while on pain killers, but that fact that I can’t move doesn’t make the world stop.

It was actually quite comical.  The pain was mild enough that I was mostly fine so long as I didn’t move.  This led to a rather epic conception of how to get around the house.  I slid across the floor, pushing myself with my legs and a pillow under my head, and my friend, who came over because I couldn’t reach my food (shelves/drawers are a bit high from the floor), pulled my arms.

3) This is going to be great.

Sleep flew out the window with spring break, and I’m due for another pack of highlighters (I spend $60/year on highlighters, true story).  But I’m lost in what I love, doing new things, and filling new roles.

…and I’m going through it with all the right people.

An Avalanche

On the water. Valencia, Spain.

Midterms aren’t suppose to hit CSS students.  I do papers every week in place of the chaos of exams and huge papers, essentially trading the stress of the middle/end semester projects for a weekly snowball to the face.  And I like it that way.

Except, this time, the snowballs culminated to a massive showdown, blizzard of ’78 style.

Four papers in five days, plus sudden pangs of exhaustion that are hitting my body like a gust a wind on the open seas.  As I sit and work, my mind jumps, and I can’t remember what I just did anymore.  Despite my genuine excitement for what I’m writing about, all I can think of is the tired radiating from my brain to my every muscle.

I’ve tried sleeping.  It doesn’t go away, neither does my aching throat and stomach pains.  Clearly, I’m sick with something, but today I tested negative for strep and mono.  Complaining feels pointless and selfish, because everybody else is stressed right now too.

Friday feels like a world away, which at this point is a good thing, because I have far too much work to do before then.

-Here’s to hanging on.

The Big Storm before the African Sunrise

It’s probably actually quite incredible that I made it this far with only one breakdown, but today the last straw flew through the window and still managed to blow back and hit me in the face.

Cork board week before finals

True, no specific, life-altering destruction came my way, but sometimes the accumulation of a thousand incidences manage to imitate that kind of problem.

Two weeks ago, with short breath, racing mind, and finals falling upon me, I defaulted to my classic stress management technique– obscene organization.  A list for everything.  Color-coordinated notes.   A couple hundred flashcards.

Finals Week: Covered up the schedules with what I thought was more important...the people I love.

It’s just what I do.  My mind’s version of making sense of wacked out disorder and the impossibility

of perfection.  And it helps a lot.  When I sit for a test, I remember where it was at in my notes and what color they were.  When I’m trying to write, I have an uncluttered space with everything I need within reach.

My law class drags on for another two long weeks, but all the others are done as of today– 4 exams and 2 papers later.  It wouldn’t have been so bad, if that whole Spanish language thing still didn’t trip me up.  But it does.

As such, writing takes forever.  But last night it was fun.  Last night, it almost felt like one of those long CSS Thursday nights–always so painful, but in some inexplicable way, fun.

Me and Joe McCarthy were getting along just fine, till about 2am when I realized my sentences were beginning to seemlessly flow back and forth between English and Spanish.  I called it quits and went to bed.

The morning started unassuming, what with the paper and some note taking, but disorder descended…fast.  It almost feels petty to enumerate, but I don’t think that somehow makes them mean less.  Because today, the accumulation of these incidences was enough to  make it really hard to choose a positive attitude.

My USB drive disappeared, and without it, I didn’t know how to print at school.  I tried buying another one, but I couldn’t find one.  And the people at the store were rude.  Once I did figure where to email my paper to print it, I learned that the email was down (how does that even happen?)  Thankfully, the mean lady who always works behind the printing counter took pity on me and let me borrow a USB drive.  As such, I made it to class, with my final project, in time.

paper wads of former notes

As I sat for my Cold War final, I realized that if I hadn’t attended a single day of classes, I could have passed the test.  That was nice, but it sort of made all my crammed time studying a detailed Cold War timeline a little irrelevant.

And then, I thought it was all over.  But it wasn’t.

My camera spontaneously broke last week.  I planned on  going to the mall outside of the city after my test with this month’s check and replacing it.  I walked into my program office 30 minutes before it closed to learn that I couldn’t get any money without filling out all my evaluations. And I couldn’t fill out my evaluations right away, because I didn’t have access to a USB drive to print.

I’ll get the check on Monday, but it means that my new camera and Morocco are all going to be out of pocket expenses.  And it’s a long story, but as a result of bank accounts being in the wrong countries and currency stuff, the reimbursement money is never going to end up back in the account I want it in.

At the mall, they wouldn’t accept my credit card, because I only had a copy of my passport.  After a brief, but dejected walk out of the mall, I returned in search of an ATM (because they don’t require IDs).  After about an hour of searching, I made my way back to the electronics store, and this time I walked out, camera in hand.

An hour and half later, after verifying that my finances all check out for my trip tomorrow, I was curled up in my bed with the covers pulled tight, my computer, and an episode of One Tree Hill.

–and the post-final crash commences (but not too much), see I got a full day ahead of me now.  What with that whole flight to Marrakesh in three hours and whatnot…

(please pray for my safety.  they just had some power change hands via elections last week)