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Last week, during a regular meeting with my thesis advisor, he told me that even though there are about two months left in the semester, I only have until the end of October to finish writing my thesis.  He needs a month to revise it after that, so that it can be done by finals week in December, since he’s heading out on sabbatical the instant the semester ends.

My response?  Oh joy.

So, I have been stressing myself to death trying to work on this stupid-yet-cool-yet-annoying thesis.  And it’s still coming very very slowly.

I think this has definitely helped me realize that grad school is not right for me.  If I can’t even write a 50-or-so page thesis, how can I even think about writing one that is a few hundred pages?

I just keep telling myself that it will be wonderful next semester when I am totally finished with it (except for the minor part where I have to present it at the student research symposium in the spring!).  The bad news is that there is only one class that I am kinda interested in taking next semester; the selection is the worst I’ve seen in all my four years here!  And it’s the one semester where I don’t have to worry about taking anything for my major; I can take fun classes!  But none of them are fun!  Arg!  And yes, part of the problem is that I’m not sure I know how to take “fun” classes – the one “fun” class I’m planning on taking is a junior/senior seminar in English – and I’m not an English major, or even minor!

The upside to all this is that I have honed my procrastination skills: my inbox is empty for the first time in months, as is my Google Reader.  My work for other classes has also been finished earlier than the night before!

And on that note, that literary/editing class project I mentioned a while ago?  Where we get to start our own literary magazine?  Well, it’s been started!  We  present you Gambol!  We would love, love, love any submissions!  We do plan on continuing this after the semester is over, so it is a legit magazine, not just a short-term school project!  Also, any advice/suggestions for the site are welcome, as it is still in the development stage!

As you might be able to tell, I have been spending far too much time working on Gambol and not enough on my thesis, since the former is so much more fun than the latter!

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I have reached the point in the semester where I just need to be alone sometimes.  I was kind of grumpy and annoyed at my friends tonight at dinner, and el boyo sort of called me on it, after they had left.  So I started talking about how I was just feeling really boxed in and I felt like people had so many expectations of me that I just wanted to be left alone and wanted to go home.  I have plans to go to the beach with roomie and P after exams are over, and then come back for P’s graduation.  The problem is that I can only handle P in small doses before she starts grating on my nerves.  And so, looking ahead, I would really prefer to go home after exams rather than go to the beach for a week and then go to graduation.  But I know P would be really hurt if I did that, so I’m not.

But anyway, to get back to my original point…  As I was talking to el boyo about this need to be alone, he mentioned that I get this way every semester, towards the end, and thinking back on the last five semesters, I realize I do.  Every semester, at one point or another, particularly around the end of the semester, everyone around me begins getting extremely stressed, and I guess I internalize it more than I do at other times of the year, and my stress level skyrockets as I feel my personal bubble closing in on me, being suffocating practically.

In past years, I have had somewhere to go to escape the world.

Freshman year, there was an area at the top of the staircase near my dorm room that was just a large landing, with a locked door leading to who knows where.  Once discovered, I went up there all the time to be alone, or talk to my friends on the phone, or read a book, or whatever.

Sophmore year, I moved to a different dorm.  This dorm, however, actually has lounges on the third and fourth floors.  One, many people use, as there is a TV and a huge couch, as well as some tables and chairs.  The other one had some mismatched chairs and a loveseat and two tables that had uneven legs, so not many people used it.  I would go to this second one to be alone or to talk to el boyo without fear of anyone listening in to our private conversations.  If it was in use, then I simply went to a nice corner of the library that I had discovered in the quiet section.

This year, I have been at a loss.  The university hired some interior decorators who redid all of my regular locations, making them more open and comfortable for everyone to use.  Thus, I can no longer go to any of my usual spaces and expect to me alone for 5 minutes much less 5 hours.  As a result, I have not had the chance all semester to escape for a few hours from everyone and everything.  And it has taken its toll.

So tonight, el boyo and I went exploring.

We went into the music building, and explored all the practice rooms.  There are a ton of small practice rooms, each with a piano in them, open and available for whomever wants to use them.  I’m not sure if they close at a certain hour, or if they are open all night, though.  I hope they’re open all night.  Since I don’t play the piano, and they don’t exactly have comfortable seating in them, I wasn’t too sure that they would be useful for my purposes, but we found one that has a huge window seat that would be perfect.  So now I have at least one spot.

The other spot is one that I knew about but had never really explored.  In our classics department, there is a small library with some comfortable chairs, a small couch, and some tables with reading lights.  It is wonderfully cozy.  The only problem is that it is locked at night.  I’m not sure what time it closes, but I’m going to guess 5pm.  Which is really quite unfortunate.  I wonder if I could get a key…

The funny thing about our explorations was seeing which rooms were locked and which weren’t.  None of the classrooms, with their high-tech computers and projectors and Smart boards were locked, yet all the lounges and libraries were.  Basically, the rooms that would never be used in the middle of the night were locked, while the rooms that could prove useful for many students were.  I suppose there are different priorities at work here, but still…  Maybe they could install card readers so that only students could acess those rooms?  Or even selective card readers, so only majors/minors could access them?  That would be delightful!

Anyway, for tonight, I have returned to my room, recharged by even the mere possibility of having somewhere to go tomorrow and the next day and the next.  I plan to head to the classics library as soon as I’m out of work, staying there until they make me leave.  And then perhaps back to my room or over to the music building to curl up in the window seat there, depending on how I’m feeling at the time.

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My friend P has been having some troubles this semester – not with classes, but with anorexia.  I’ve known about it for a while, since we eat dinner together most nights and it’s fairly obvious, and have been encouraging her to work on it.  She does go to a nutritionist and her parents are aware of the problem.  But they can only do so much.

Tonight, she told me that she and her nutritionist had talked earlier today, and the nutritionist had said that if things don’t start going better, she might want to consider going to an in-patient facility for these sorts of issues for a few weeks after graduation to try to work on this issue, rather than only seeing someone for an hour or two a week.  P understands the possible necessity, and the potential help this could give her, and she’s at a prime time in her life that she can afford to take a few weeks off, before she actually finds a job.  But at the same time, she doesn’t really want her parents to think that she’s failed them, particularly since her mother is someone who works with people with eating disorders.

I know she’s really torn about all this, particularly since she sees how much she’s failing to correct the damage that’s been done.  She would have to eat at least double what she’s eating now to maintain her current (unhealthy) weight, much less gain all the weight back that she’s lost in the last few months.  Fortunately, she has stopped going to the gym quite as often as she did before she started seeing the nutrionist.  I think the possibility that she might faint in public – a possibility raised by the nutritionist apparently – was more encouragement than the possibility of just fainting or working too hard in general.  But, whatever helps.

And so, here I am.  I really want to help her, but I fear I just don’t quite understand.  I’m trying to be as supportive as I can be, but I just can’t seem to grasp a true understanding of why she’s having so many issues with eating.  And I get that it’s probably really hard to understand unless you’ve gone through it yourself – which I haven’t – but I feel like the only way to help, or even try to begin to help is through understanding.

Is there anyone out there who has been in a similar situation?  And ideas for how I can help her?  I know I can’t cure her or anything drastic like that, but I also know, from our talks, that she recognizes how big of an impact this is having on her life (i.e. academically and emotionally as well as physically), and that I can understand, and I just want to help her in someway – any way.

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snow-day-01Today was the first time in my college career that the University actually shut down and canceled classes!  We got a couple of inches last night and into today.  As you have probably been able to tell from my last couple of posts complaining about the cold weather, I don’t particularly like it, but sometimes it can be fun.

My roomie, el boyo, and I all went romping last night, which is when the above picture (along with a gazillion others) were taken.  It was definitely one of the absolute high points of my college career!  There were so many students outside, all just having fun, building dozens of snowmen, having mini-snowball fights, sledding down some of the (pitiful) hills around campus on anything they could get their hands on — or just their stomachs!  I have never seen the student body in such a fabulous, gleeful state!

The three of us wandered around campus, simply enjoying the whole experience.  There were plenty of snowballs thrown, no worries about that.  We discovered that my roommate cannot hit the broad side of a barn from a foot away, but somehow, when she does hit you, will inevitably get it into your ear.  Also discovered: rain boots are no substitute for snow boots, as they can and will lead to frostbite.  And frostbite hurts!  Nevertheless, rain boots were certainly the gear of choice, as Virginia isn’t exactly known for its snowfalls and thus no one had appropriate gear.

So this morning, at 6am, the University sent out an email declaring that all classes were canceled and only “essential” personnel (ie food people) were supposed to come to work.  So we all had a lovely, relaxing day (or at least, I did, since I only have one test this week, which is on Thursday, right before I leave for Spring Break (huzzah!)).

And I would go on, but I have been interrupted and have lost my train of thought, and must now leave to be a good little student.

On a related note: my obsession with Smallville has been renewed!  Updates on this revelation shall be posted as they occur.

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As you may know, all of my friends but one and el boyo are abroad this semester, as I too was supposed to be.  Included in the abroad category is my roomate, both last year and this (when she comes back from abroad, or course).  Before this year, I would have said we had a pretty good relationship: we have most of the same interests, the same quirks, the same anti-social, anti-drinking outlook, etc.  To be perfectly honest, in many ways, she is what I want to be.  We share many of the same goals in life, but she has actually worked towards them and has a job currently that I would have loved to have, but just don’t have the work ethic or the resume-experience.

But enough of my insane jealousy 😀

This year, roomie is studying abroad in London.  I had assumed that we would chat every once in a while on AIM, though probably not Skype, since we both hate talking on the phone.  I mean, this is what our relationship over the summer is.  We just don’t have all that much exciting going on in our lives, and we are both fairly unable to talk about mundane things.

However…

The further into the semester we go, the more we talk online.  And it’s fabulous!  We are talking all the time, throughout the afternoon and into the night, since she stays up way too late on a regular basis.  And we can chat about just about anything.  And the conversation ebbs and flows naturally.  It’s not like our usual summer chats in which someone initiates conversation for a specific reason and then once that is taken care of, we stop talking because there is nothing left to say.  Instead, we both bring up random topics about anything we happen to be doing at that time, and can actually have a conversation about it!

I think a big part of this might be that she’s homesick and really likes talking to people back here in the US.  I wonder if we would be having these same types of chats if I were still in France…  I bet we would.  Or at least we’d be helping each other in our mutual homesickness.

But no matter what the reason, I’m really happy about it.  I am actually really excited to room with her when she gets back next semester.  I actually miss her!  I know that sounds weird, but I don’t normally miss/long to be with someone, except for el boyo during the summer, and my parents (well, my mom) occasionally.  I don’t form attachments very easily.  I mean, I have three best friends back in home state, but I never really miss them so much that I wish we went to the same school or anything.  I love them and all, I just simply don’t have this strong of a reaction to the distance.

And you know what?  I’m happy that I miss her.  Again, that sounds weird, I know, but it’s true.  And I’m even happier that this whole study abroad thing has actually brought us closer together rather than drive us apart.  What can I say?  I love my roomie!

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It’s that time of year when we get to choose classes for next semester.  I love this time of year, because I love planning and looking at all the possibilities for next semester.  It’s so much fun!  I seriously spend hours making lists and potential schedules for next semester.  My advisor also love it because I am so prepared, which makes his job easier.

Anyway, if I get the schedule that works best right now in terms of fulfilling classes for both my major and gen-ed requirements, I will not have classes on Monday and Friday.  Which is crazy!  I have never not had classes on one day of the week, much less two.  This means a four day weekend every single weekend!  It’s crazy!

As a result of this new freedom that I will probably have next semester, I know that I will go completely bonkers if I do not have something to do on my weekends.  And so I want a car in order to start volunteering at like an animal shelter in the city, which I have wanted to do forever, but haven’t had the transportation.  And still don’t.  Which is why I need a car.

So, I mentioned this to a few of my friends, and one of them, one of my roommates from last year in fact (whom I am not rooming with this year) mentioned that she’ll have a car on campus next semester when she gets back from studying abroad.  I have yet to reply to this comment.  What I really want to say is WTF?  Last year, you would never let me borrow your car, which I completely understand and respect, since I wouldn’t want anyone driving my car in case something happened to it.  And yet here she is saying that her car will be on campus???  How does that help me?  I want a car so that I don’t have to rely on my friends to take me off campus.  I hate relying on people.  I am very independent.  And if you wouldn’t lend me your car last year, why would you lend it to me this year?  I mean, seriously.

This is one of many reasons why I am not rooming with her this year, by the way.  She irritates me so much with how she essentially lives in her own little world most of the time, not taking others into consideration.  It aggravates me so much.  Oh, the stories I could tell…

But to return to my main point: I need a car.  And I’m saving up for one.  And I really want it now.  But that’s not going to happen.  So now I’m working on convincing my parents to help me get one over Christmas break.  Except then I have to drive it almost 600 miles to get it from home to school.  Did I mention I don’t particularly like highway driving?

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I was just looking over my blog and, while I knew that I hadn’t posted in a while, I didn’t realize that the last time I posted, I was still in France. A lot has happened since then.

First and foremost, I did end up leaving France. I was in Europe for almost exactly a week. I talked to my parents and my home university in the US, and was able to convince them that coming home would be the best thing for me. It took a lot of talking on my part to manage this, but as I have an extremely good track record of making the right decisions in my life, they decided to accept my decision and not try to force me to stay in France. Thus, I contacted professors, arranged planes, trains, and automobiles (literally! I needed a taxi to get from my dorm to the train station, a train from Lille to London, a taxi from the train station to Heathrow, and a plane from London to home), made a great many phone calls all over the US, London, and France, and was on my way home within 48 hours.

Long story short, I was in France on Friday, London on Saturday, home Saturday night, and back at school Sunday night, with three classes arranged for Monday. I am fortunate enough to be interested in classes that no one else is really that keen on, and so was actually able to get into classes that I think I would have enrolled in had I not made the detour to France first. I started a week behind everyone else, which my professors were a bit worried about, but my academic advisor apparently assured them all that I am a good student and would be able to catch up. And so I have! I think. Barring any implications in that last post I wrote…

In terms of a social life, I have one friend and el boyo here on campus to hang out with. I don’t think I have ever actually tried to make friends with people, it usually just happened through proximity of some sort, so I’m really not sure how to go about expanding my social circle during this semester, even though that is a goal I have set for myself. I’m just really not a social person, so it’s not like I’m going to go to parties etc. I’ve been trying to branch out a bit and do more things around campus, but I keep returning to my old anti-social ways. Bad habits are seriously hard to break. Any ideas?

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