Reflections on the first month of school after being a leisurely vagrant for two years.

I realized after my entire math class assuredly bombed the test we wrote today that I should probably re-evaluate my approach to effective studying.  I’ve always been a bit of an over-achiever, and the thought that I most likely failed a test for the first time in my life is a difficult thing to try to process.  However! It was only worth 10% of my grade, and I know that I was not alone in finding the test to be comparatively complex and lengthy in relation to the 50 minutes we had to write it in.  I found myself not taking time to read the questions because I didn’t think I had enough of it to unpack it, and every single question incorporated several theories we discussed in lectures.

Sigh.

Oh well, there’s no time to dwell on it because there are at least seven other looming due dates coming up in the next two weeks.  Welcome to BCIT.

So. What’s my plan?

I’m going to start writing my lecture notes on looseleaf paper in my clipboard, and then copy them into a notebook of polished material that amalgamates the lecture slides posted on the internet with the notes I would take in lectures.

For labs where I have group assignments and problems to work on either before or in labs, I’m going to bring a separate duotang with problem sets and other work.  When I read assigned chapters for my classes I’m going to make flash cards as I go and write notes based on the learning objectives outlined in the chapters.

This is my new plan, and on top of that I need to start making more time for exercise, meal planning, and sleeping.  I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, I mean, it’s only been a month.  There are still plenty of months left in between now and June of 2016 for me to figure out how to balance a schedule this crazy.  I’m also trying to unlearn some of the study habits I developed when I was in university, had no labs, and only had four courses.

Today I’m feeling down and defeated, but I have a plan in mind and I’m going to start executing it today.

In other, overwhelmingly positive news: I moved! I moved to my new apartment in the city and it’s small but it’s perfect for man-friend and I.  We bought a mattress on Saturday and come this weekend we’ll be sleeping in a cozy pillow of angel clouds instead of a piece of foam.  Joy! Rapture!

I think tonight after I finish some homework my primary focus should be taking half an hour to just do some yoga and step away from all of my screens and my stress.  Love to everybody out there who is also experiencing academic-related stress.

Apparently I have midterms already and next week I move into a cozy shoebox.

I feel like a common trend for me over the next two years will be this constant feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, and that I’m constantly behind in my homework.  Even if I spend an entire weekend reading and making flashcards on 130 pages from my Marketing textbook, I still feel like there are so many other things I need to accomplish before I can feel satisfied.  Today I’m realizing that I need to change my perception of what it means to be on top of my homework.  With seven courses a term, there is absolutely no way I can do every subject every day and still feel prepared for the two midterms that I have coming up on Thursday.  I can’t say no to exercise just because it means precious minutes out of my homework time, and I need to realize that it’s okay if I want to take a break every now and then.

My commute is still a huge issue for me, but fortunately after this week it will change.  I will say that the thought of moving in the middle of a week where I have two huge tests is kind of stressful and daunting to me, but I’m combatting moving stress with making a Pinterest board on small space organization.  It’s making me really excited to become as space-efficient as I can once I move into my new apartment.  I think after this week I’ll be settled into more of a rhythm and I can devote one day of the week to each of my courses and spend weekend afternoons at the Central branch of the VPL and drink coffee all day and most importantly not spend 3 hours on a bus every weekday.  I don’t think I’ve felt like an actual human being in weeks.

Yesterday I decided that after three hours of reading my textbook I badly needed to get outside. I went into the Urban Forest behind my parents’ house and I just ran and ran because the longer I ran the longer I could avoid returning to my homework, and I ended up running 8km. I think I’ve only ever run 8km one other time in my life, and it was sunny and easy and I made some excellent progress in my favourite running app and it was lovely.  It makes me think that I could easily run a 10km sometime in the near future. I’m going to have to find some inspiring running routes once I’m in the city.

Tonight I’m taking my sister to see the Maze Runner because we both loved the book and it’s another way for me to just chill for a hot minute on the homework. Until then, MATH!

“You will find solace in a sea of trees.”

This title has basically nothing to do with what I’m writing about tonight other than the fact that Keanu Reeves just said it in the movie I’m watching.  I didn’t even know he was still acting, what a pleasant surprise!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated, but I figured “it’s a Friday night, I’m drinking beer alone and watching 47 Ronin, what better time than to write in my blog!”  I really want to make more of a solid effort to keep posting in here and slowly gravitate away from my Livejournal. I know, I know, Livejournal is so 2004, but I’ve had it since then and I think it’s kind of neat to have maintained a blog for almost eleven years now.  However, maybe it’s time for me to end that nostalgia trip and move on to more grown up endeavours.

So! I’m fully a Marketing student now. That’s a thing that happened. I feel like I don’t remember what my life was like before I started at BCIT.  I also have a fancy new MacBook Pro, but I don’t forget what my life was like before I had Alcibiades (the name I’ve bestowed upon it.)  I still don’t fully believe that it’s my computer yet.  It will probably take a few months before it truly sets in, or at least until I move into the new apartment Mike and I have on Commercial (we move in a week!)  Life is full of fast-paced changes right now.

I’ve been at BCIT for about a month now and I am almost certain that it will be the most intense thing I ever do with my life.  I’ve been academically idle for two years now and this term alone I’m taking: Microeconomics, Business Math, Business Communication, Business Law, Business Information Systems, Organizational Behaviour, and Marketing Essentials.  I have never taken seven courses before, life is hectic.

It’s especially hectic right now because I’m commuting for around 3-3.5 hours every day which sucks about  15 hours out of my week that could otherwise be spent packing lunches or running or sleeping or doing homework or SLEEPING.  My new commute from Commercial is 34 minutes long according to Translink’s website and I could cry with how happy I am at the amount of time I’ll be saving.  One more week.

In the meantime, I feel like I’ve finally somewhat adjusted to what being at BCIT is like and I’ve made more friends in a month there than I did at UVIC in four years.  I think it has something to do with the whole Being Crammed Into Teams thing. It’s also so fascinating to be put into these group situations with so many people who come from so many different backgrounds.  Everybody has something unique to contribute to a team dynamic.  I’m looking forward to constantly push the boundaries of my comfort zone and tackle my usual adversity to conflict.  This program might be the best thing I ever do for myself. I’m feeling incredibly inspired and lucky to be able to go back to school.

That’s all for today, I think.  I’mma start posting more things in here more often.

In Which our Heroine Makes a Fancy Life Decision and Says Goodbye to a Beloved Companion

Well, I think it’s safe to say it’s officially summer.  I am currently sweltering to death in a children’s toy store taking advantage of the fancy work computer that is provided to me while I sit behind the counter, keeping my jellybean vigil.  If I lose focus for even a second, the children who frequent this toy store will be on me, like zombies who subsist on jellybeans instead of brains.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m sitting in front of a giant Jelly Belly display for several hours a day.  It is seriously so hot in here how am I even alive right now.

Anyways, I made some grown-up life plans!  After trying and failing for months to find full time work that is stimulating and challenging in my hometown, I applied to BCIT on somewhat of a whim thinking that I probably wouldn’t get in, but lo! I just received word that I’ve been accepted to their Marketing Management program starting THIS September.  What a whirlwind change of events this is becoming for me.  I’m actually following through with that whimsical goal I made after I graduated university when I said that I would give myself two years to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  Two years later, I’ve been accepted to Fancy Business School.  I feel vastly underprepared; I don’t know a thing about business or what it’s like to be a Fancy Marketing Student.  Maybe I should buy a satchel.

So, I officially have two months to be as laissez-faire as possible before delving back into the cutthroat world of competitive academia.  This means I’m going to spend as much time out of doors as possible. This is a great thing for me, especially because I just bought some barefoot trail runners that are seriously life-changing for me in my approach to running.  Why, yes, I did just finish reading Born to Run, I am surprised you were able to see through my epiphany so clearly!  (Seriously though, read that book.)  I’ve also found a beautiful little internet home in the realm of Tone it Up.  It’s helping me to completely re-approach my relationship with meal planning (which I have never done,) and exercise, and basically just having a community of like-minded women all working towards common goals.  I’ve done a lot of at-home fitness regimes before like P90X and a number of Jillian Michaels programs, but this one feels more personal because you’re more connected to your trainers, Karena & Katrina, and you’re constantly supported by everyone else in the community.  I bought their Nutrition Plan and I am feeling more optimistic and happy about my body image than I have since last summer when I constantly had shirtless men appearing on my doorstep (that’s a story for another day.)  I’m sure I’ll be mentioning this community again and again.

Unfortunately, I have to end this post on a melancholy note.  My Holland Lop (see also: Bunners,) has been suffering from glaucoma since the winter.  I have had him on a number of eye drop medications since then and have frequently taken him to get the pressures behind his eyes checked, and everything seemed okay until the past few weeks.  I notice his entire eye is clouded over and blue, and I can’t see through to the pupil the way I used to be able to.  He’s lost some of his zest for life and spends a lot of time laying on his belly in a corner.  Sometimes I hear him crunching his teeth loudly like he’s in pain.  It’s breaking my heart, really.  I know that the only option to keep him alive right now is to get his eye surgically removed, but I don’t have the monetary or veterinary resources to go down that path.  I’ve also read that the trauma of having an eye taken out might be too much for him, and there doesn’t seem to be any guarantee that it would make his situation any better.  On top of it all, I’d have to move him very soon after the surgery and, anyways, I’m going to have to put him down.  It feels really messed up to be able to make that kind of decision, but I want to do right by my Bunners and I know that I would rather do it now while he’s still eating and acting somewhat normally and not wait until it’s too late and his last days are full of pain and discomfort.  I have one more week with my little guy and I’m planning on making it amazing for him.  I’ve never gone through the process of losing a pet before, I’m going to miss him so much.

Recent exploits.

I am now a badass new god re: snowboarding. Yesterday I conquered all of my childhood demons associated with double black diamond runs from when I was growing up here and went down the ones that scared me the most. And I OWNED it. I was even taking jumps (and subsequently falling spectacularly, giving myself a touch of the whiplash BUT IT WAS ALL WORTHH IT.) I regret nothing. I had the best time yesterday and I am excited that we are finally getting fresh, regular dumps of snow to keep the hill getting better and better and helping me to feel like a HERO.

My health seems to either be deteriorating very slowly or I am just now existing in a state of being constantly just a little bit out of it. I don’t know what to attribute this to. I know my skin is super dry and I’m finding it difficult to stay hydrated. I think perhaps I am a little bit iron deficient? It’s the only thing I can think of. I am going to try to find an iron supplement to experiment.  Either that or my body is just adapting poorly to being in a dry climate again.

My obsession with Beyoncé continues with no end in sight.

I found a new game on my 3DS that I think I might like even more than Pokemon (stress on the might.) FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING. MERLIN’S BEARD, you guys. You can have your characters FALL IN LOVE and get MARRIED and have BABIES and then you can use those babies to help you save the WORLD. The plot has already had me crying in several places.  I’m about halfway through and I am obsessed with leveling up all of my babies and honing their skillsets and wowowow, I need to take a break from it probably.

My progress with learning that requires a computer to do it is going at a snail’s pace right now, mostly because the sound of my ageing computer fan is driving me bananas.  I even went so far as to order a new one from the good people at eBay, but when it arrived in the mail and I had disassembled my entire MacBook and managed to remove the fan without severing any wires, I tried placing the new one in and realized it was slightly too big.  ALAS FOR ME.  So I am now in the process of hunting another one down, but my computer was created in the bizarre void between the late 2006 models and the 2008 models, so mine falls under the category of ‘mid-2007′ instead of ‘late 2006/2007′ and it is all very complicated.

Today is a day that I begin my fitness journey ANEW.  I have acquired P90X 3 and I am going to attack the Lean schedule on it, because I don’t yet have resistance bands as they are traveling to me in the post and I shall probably be getting them just in time for week seven when I actually need them.  I don’t care what anybody says, I love Tony Horton. Maybe I’m genetically predisposed to because my dad shares this love, and sometimes we just text back and forth for periods of time discussing his many merits and quoting the hilarious things he says during the videos.  It’s the reason why I don’t do any other at-home fitness regimes. None of the other trainers are Tony.  Also I am far more likely to commit to a 3 month shindig if it’s only for half an hour a day.  I know I can commit to it because I did a month of P90x (which was all I wanted to do at the time,) and then the 30 Day Shred with my girl Jillian a few years later, so it’s time to just step up and do 3 months.  I am going to be the most agile ninja cat of life.  That is my goal for my fitness: Agile ninja cat.

I have this pen and notebook sitting beside me right now because I just have this unshakeable urge to take notes on something.  It’s the one thing that hasn’t left me since I graduated. I love note-taking.  I wish my computer didn’t sound like an angry lawnmower so that I could just watch a lecture about SOMETHING, ANYTHING, just so I could take notes.

Maybe I will go and do some computer fan research now so that I can help that particular goal along.

Yoncé all in this blog like ichor.

I have never been much of a Beyoncé fan.  I mean, sure I learned every move to the Single Ladies video, but I have always been a sucker for a good music video.  I learned most of the dance moves from JBieb’s Somebody to Love, too, so that’s about how selective I am..which is not saying much.  Ahem.

DrunkInLoveMoving on! December 13th pretty much changed the whole music world.  I mean, maybe not, but it did for me, because I decidedly became a Beyoncé fan who like, cares about her life and stuff now.  I have just never found her to be incredibly relatable.  But that was Beyfore.  I like to think of myself as someone who cares about music and somewhat pays attention to the direction popular music is heading, where people get their influences from, producers who I admire, etc., and so when I found out that Beyoncé had released an album that she managed to keep secret, and not only that but she had seventeen music videos coming out alongside it that nobody ever found out about, I was more or less astonished.  I gave all of the fucks. ALL OF THEM.

So I acquired it and I’ve now watched the entire thing sequentially something like thricefold now and I vaguely suspect that listening to it while snowboarding has upped my riding sass something like 92%.  I went down a run that normally scares the crap out of me but I was like “Uh-uh babay, Bey and I got this,” complete with finger-wagging motions and me telling the mountain to respect that, bow down.  You know how it goes. BeyonceMine01

What I love so much about this album is the fact that it’s such an involved experience where you can totally immerse yourself in the album and experience it the way that she meant for us to.  Sure, all of the songs are great on their own, but with pop music these days I find that there is such little cohesiveness to an album.  This is like an epic story of growth and love and sex and loss and motherhood and just everything that makes up a woman going through an enormous transition period.  The album is an emotional journey and the fact that the music videos shot in public (like XO and No Angel) they are just so candid and, for lack of a better word, real.  You can see her fantasies, her realities, her insecurities, all laid bare for her fans.  She’s never done anything like that before, and I think that by reminding us that she is a human who undergoes human things she has made her music so much more accessible.  I love that she’s made the meaning of each song so apparent and available to the viewer.  And I love the concept of the visual album for all of those reasons.  I really think that pop artists could learn a thing or two from this.  I hope that this spurs on a new way of revealing and sharing music, when it’s not all about the single and the stand-alone songs, but more of an involved experience for artist and fan alike.  I humbly bow down to Queen Bey.  (If I did have to pick a favourite song, though, I think it would be Mine.  I am absolutely in love with the video for reasons I can’t fully explain.  I think I’ve watched it close to seventeen times now.)BeyonceBowDownBitches

 

What happens when you move back to your hometown in your twenties.

First thing’s first: you know what the world doesn’t have enough of anymore? Epistolary novels. Why is that?  Are they just not an acceptable thing in this modern and technological era? Unacceptable! So, recently I moved back to my hometown (see also: The Old Country)  in the interior of British Columbia because I wanted to spend a wholesome winter away from the city and surrounded by places I love and people who smile and strike up a conversation with me just because it would be weird not to.  Even though I said I was through with all things housekeeping-related, I’ve found myself working in that job again simply because it provides me with free and unlimited access to the ski hill.  Oh yes, snowboarding is another reason why I’m back.  Snowboarding through pristine, fluffy powder that doesn’t weigh you down because it isn’t the heavy and wet snow of the coast.  Also, the most you have to wait in line at the chair lifts is something like one minute.  And that is a busy, busy day if you have to wait that long. Red Mountain, B.C.’s best-kept secret.  Actually, I suppose it’s no longer much of a secret, but it’s just so much of a faf to get out here for people who don’t live in the area that most people don’t bother.  No matter, moar snow for me! Things I’ve learned since returning to the Old Country after having left when I was a mere fifteen-year-old:

  • People remember me, I’m recognized even by the post office proprietor who remembered my family’s post office box number from years past.
  • You actually speak to the people waiting at bus stops with you instead of idling around and pretending like they don’t exist.
  • My skin hates it here; creature hands are back in full effect, my lips are chapped and cracked, and I generally feel like a neglected plant.  I have been trying to down as much water as I can handle per day to combat this new and dry climate I have thrown myself into, I’ve taken to blaming any and all ailments “on the altitude,” which I am not even sure is a thing, and I don’t leave the house without intensive care lip balm and also hand cream.  I am using hand cream meant for COW UDDERS. That is how dire my situation is.
  • Nothing is open after 9pm or on Sundays.  This is probably what holds the most novelty to me, because I have been a city dweller for so long now that I can’t fathom not being able to consume something the minute I think to acquire it.  Now I actually have to wait, sometimes a whole day.  It’s basically unheard of.

Lately I’ve been feeling some sort of arbitrary pressure to have my life sorted.  I’m not sure if it’s the aftermath of the holidays where I end up spending pointless hours defending my Arts degree to my parents’ friends.  I think the fact that I’m working another housekeeping job when I told myself I was over it is contributing.  About a week ago I watched a TED talk (one of the first I’ve ever watched,) and Alain de Botton addressed the common perception of what it means to be “successful,” and offered up an alternative.  It really struck a chord with me, especially after returning to the suburbs for a few weeks and spending time around people who only seem to want to talk about the Things They Have or the Things They Are Going to Get or What They Bought For Their Kids.  So many of these metropolitan adult gatherings end up being a huge discussion about all the material possessions they’ve acquired due to their career success, and how success is so often measured by the material things you have to show for it. It is fascinating for me, having grown up in this small town where my parents were pretty well-respected and successful because of my dad’s career, only to move to the city where people who didn’t work as hard or go to school for as long are making ten times the amount my dad does, often times because they knew the right people at the right time.  And that’s just life, but this TED talk resonated with me because I often feel like I have to defend my choice to get a liberal arts degree because how on earth would an arts degree get me a good, well-paying job that would define my worth as a person? How will I acquire the things I need to show that I am a successful person if I don’t have that well-paying job?  I basically have a well-rehearsed homily that I deliver on-demand.  I talk about how it’s not about the content, how it’s about the critical-thinking and communication skills you learn during the four years you apply to something you care about.  How you show that you can see a long, often arduous process through until the end and have something to show for it afterwards.  I think there have been thousands of articles ad nauseam written on Baby Boomers vs. Generation X vs. my own Generation Y and how we’re all a bunch of self-entitled whiners who refuse to work hard for anything or think practically about careers, so I’m not going to go down that particular rabbit hole. I digress!  What I really took away from Alain de Botton’s lecture was that in order to live my best life, being successful is important, but according to my own definition of success.  Moving away from a metropolitan area is one of the best experiences I have given myself in my adult life, whether it’s returning to a small town or going so far as to leave civilization completely and work in the Wilderness.  I feel more in touch with my own values when I’m not constantly being bombarded by the Things I Can Have and I feel less pressure to have a high paying job that I can brag about to my peers right away.  Sure, I still aspire to these things, but in my own time and in a field I’m sure that I want to participate in.  For me, right now, so long as I am making ends meet, doing activities that make me feel fulfilled, and spending time with people I love and care about, I feel like a pretty successful person INDEED. On that note (GOOD LORD THIS IS A HUGE POST,) I want to briefly check in with That List that I’m working on to develop skills that I would like to have when I do enter the Career World.  Naturally I chose the thing that would be the most fun to learn first, and that is GIF MAKIN’.  Next up is Excel.  I bought Gif Brewery from the app store and went to town on my copy of Beyoncé’s visual album.  Speaking of which, I have a whole tributary post in the works for Queen Bey, so I will just leave you with this:

*bows down*
*bows down*

..and be on my merry way.