It feels like ages since I made the commitment to get into an Ivy League graduate program by the end of 1029 days, ending on August 31st, 2016. It almost feels like I’ve forgotten about it. Digital binging does that to me.
This isn’t the first time that this has happened. I’ll pledge myself to finally change, to get my life in order, and then shit falls flat. In the past, I had such ridiculously high standards for what constituted ‘sticking to the plan’. So much so that if I screwed up once, I’d condemn myself and just give up. Recently, I’ve cut myself some more slack, being careful to recognize what I have gotten right. I’ve made substantial progress, even if it isn’t the monumental improvement I expected. Furthermore, I’ve become comfortable with the fact that mistakes and slip-ups are inevitable.
Failure should be a negative incentive and not a deterrent. I don’t want to fuck up, but if I do, it shouldn’t stop me from getting up and trying again. If I have one of my ‘black outs’, where I screw around for a few days and can’t remember what I spent my time on (except weed, alcohol, and random browsing on the internet), then yeah, I should feel fucking bad about it. However, that’s not going to stop me from going back, picking up the scheduling book, and planning the next day to be different, and then following through with it.
On the plus side, I’ve reaped the rewards of the one thing I did manage to do well: my studies of physiology. I wrote the exam yesterday, and it went well. Well, compared with the one I wrote last semester. An excerpt from my journal at the time:
Pretty sure I failed an exam for the first time yesterday. Wrote physiology, a subject where you can’t bullshit your way through because you need thorough, detailed knowledge of what you’re talking about and the fact that the guy marking the papers is strict as shit.
To be honest, it was a long time coming. I had neglected the module the entire year, thinking I’d start studying it ‘soon’, not knowing that it actually required a good deal of time and effort. Its a damn shame really, its one of my favorite areas. I try and look on the bright side: if I didn’t have this setback, I would never have gotten the kick in the ass to pull my shit together and push.
My exam was yesterday, on the 11th. Of course, I didn’t fucking study at all. At least I didn’t play video games, but I fucked around nonetheless.
Yesterday was pretty fucking tough though. As I drove into my university town, the memories hit me again (I did stay there for the first month after the break-up, after all). But the worst was in the fucking exam. With every question that I couldn’t answer, each fact that I was shaky on (which is to say, pretty much fucking all of them), her face popped up in my mind.
When I wrote this time, I literally laughed like an idiot right there in the exam venue. During the first five minutes I read through the paper, and noticed that I could answer almost all of the questions. By some miracle, there were only questions being asked on topics that I knew. While there were no sections on the finer points of acid-base balance (i.e. type A and B intercalated cells), the only chapter I didn’t get around to studying properly, there were was also an unfortunate lack of questions concerning the entirety of the female reproductive system. For the topic I’d spent the most time studying, all of the endocrinology and physiology and morphology of a woman’s special parts, there were just a paltry four multiple choice questions. Fuck, now all of those nights I spent studying in the library with a huge diagram of the ovaries or uterus or vagina up on my screen, they were for nothing. Fortune giveth, and fortune taketh away.
My lifestyle isn’t particularly healthy right now. It’s fucked up. I still have two exams remaining, on the 25th and the 5th of December, so until them I’m going to be on lockdown studying. My gym contract expired, and since I’m going to be staying in the city an hour away for the entirety of December and January, there’s no point in renewing it. Even so, just going for a run would be compromised by the fact that I either sleep too much or too little, depending on how close the exam is. Not to mention the fact that I’m barely eating because I’m fucking short on cash. Social plans are effectively ad hoc, based on whether my friends are still actually in town or unavailable because they’re procrastinating/cramming for an exam. So, it’s hard to keep any kind of balance or routine right now.
Fortunately, that’s going to change come the 5th. I might be able to secure myself an internship at another university, which, if it works out, will keep me busy contributing to really, really interesting research for the next two months. I can sign up for a gym membership close by, get my diet fixed up, get a good deal of guitar in every day, and see friends in the city. Should be great.
Between now and then, however, I need to stick it out and get the final parts of the studying done as best I can. This is going to mean 10-12 hours of review each day, but it’s only for two weeks. Almost there.