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general update on school and health

There are essentially two weeks left: one "real week and then finals. I'm almost done with my first 12 hours of grad school. Did I really do this???

A couple of professors have made comments to the effect that if you just keep up with your work on time and learn the material, you should not experience anxiety about finals or grades. There ar other comments that I've overheard that are very silly and, in my mind, inconsistent thinking. Anxiety often is very complex, and it should be respected. A person can do all the assignments on time but have to do them in such a hurry due to the fact that there is a job or family obligations (or disability accommodations) pressing in addition to school that there is no time to let the material really soak in and become a part of you. That is not truly learning the material. It's cramming; even though it is not done overnight. When you get 80 pages to read this week for this class, 50 pages for that class, 70 pages for that class, and a couple of papers on top of it, you're cramming this week's material so as not to get behind when you cram next week's material. That's part of my general state of stress lately: I feel like I have been in a constant state of cramming. It's finals time, and I have to hope that somehow I can pull the right information out of my mind. For some courses I am less worried about it; but for other courses where it has been more difficult to follow the instructor's teaching style, this is extremely difficult.

But it will get done.

I am in the middle of a major arthritis flare. I always know it's coming when I can't come up from doing laundry in the basement without being extremely tired. That happened on Monday morning. That's the sign of a level 1, which I cannot feel. I am now up to pain in multiple sites that Darvocet sort of controls. This is in spite of being on Naprosyn 500 mg twice a day. I think it's time to call the rheumatologist and explore my options. I'm sort of afraid there are no better ones, just alternative ones. And it's relatively warm right now... It will be down in the 20s this weekend, and I hope that doesn't mean I will be in excruciating pain--while trying to study...


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
I'm almost done with my first 12 hours of grad school. Did I really do this???


I'll be praying that your arthritis doesn't intensify once the temperature drops.

Dec. 4th, 2006 11:55 am (UTC)
definitely praying for you through finals. I'm looking forward to being full time next semester very much.

sounds like your professors are a bit overly rationalist to make comments like that. Anxiety is rarely, in my experience, a rational experience. It's more often caused either by an unconsciously formed habit or by some kind of brain chemistry issue either caused by a disorder or as a byproduct of what is often the inevitable lifestyle of a busy student, what you say about constant cramming. Often it is exacerbated by poor nutrition and sleep, probably because the student doesn't have proper time to take care of him/her self. While the person may even be able to know s/he has little or nothing to worry about, rationally-cognitively, that doesn't mean anxiety will not be present.

But then, I have this feeling a lot of teachers in universities and seminaries (particularly, unfortunately, in Christian institutions that tend to be inherently conservative where a dependence on modern, rational, often dualistic thinking is at least as important as dependence on the scriptures for shaping worldview issues) are still very wedded to rationalist ways of thinking that cause them to discount, even if unconsciously, solutions that may not be solvable by conventional rational means.

Lots of prayers. Shoot, my body issues aren't near as advanced as yours and my knees and back hurt like hell from the cold, not to mention my sinuses are driving me insane. So I'm sending a lot of prayer your way.
Dec. 4th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
anxiety and professors
I wish I knew what made some profs tick. I think some of it has to do with personality/temperament type... Some people just lose touch with the emotional when they're dealing with the academic. I think the two are really inseparable; but the academics tend to think that anyone who is experiencing emotion is just not being "academic" enough and that there is a time and place for emotion and a time and place for academia. Fortunately, I am blessed with a couple of really strong "pastor scholars" (term coined by my theology professor). I've truly enjoyed being in their courses! When I have time to breathe, I will write at much greater length about the experience of actually doing the work this semester and balancing it out with life. I've learned so much but had so little time to reflect!
Dec. 20th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: anxiety and professors
Hi Sarah, it's Becca...

This was a rough semester for me, even though I only had two classes! Many many transitions for me this year, and while I put everything I could into these two classes, it apparently wasn't enough -- not very satisfied with my grades, and both are due to the "extra" assignments -- meeting with chaplains and reading an additional 300 pages...you know what I'm talking about...I need to learn to discipline myself better!

I'm taking Life Cycles and Narrative Witness to Christ (or something like that) next semester -- you have either of those?

Glad we can keep in touch through blogs:)
Dec. 20th, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)
Re: anxiety and professors
I have narrative witness... If you'd like to study together sometime, feel free to let me know. I did relatively ok. I'd like to have done better in Stafford's class. I lived/ate/breathed/slept school, and I stayed on track. I am revamping my priorities a bit this semester. Still taking 12 hours but also taking on some extra ministry responsibilities because doing school-only really burned me out. I need more balance in my life--I have zero social life other than hanging out with my roommate, and a lot of that is just due to my personality type or something. I don't fit in too well with "socialites" and I pay for it emotionally.

The funny thing is... I griped and griped about never having time to reflect, and then I looked over how much journaling/blogging I did all semester. If I had a penny for every word I wrote, I'd have a nice down payment on a house! Good stinking grief!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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