Beginning Again 

I got my grades last week, and while they're not the best I have ever done, they're certainly not the worst. It was nice to have the spring break not to worry about turning in projects and doing the mental math necessary to allocate the right resources to the right assignment. (E.G. If I spend the next two hours on assignment A, I'll have just enough time to finish assignment B, which means that assignment C won't get completed in time, but that class is not as important, blah, blah, blah. It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I've always hated math, and these kinds of bargaining formulas are no different than the classical algebra one encounters in college.)

Spring Break is over and I didn't really do much of anything other than watch television or surf the net. I think I am halfway through my second viewing of the Star Trek: Voyager series that have been replaying on cable; and of course, the M.A.S.H. series is always good to zone out with.

But, truthfully, towards the end of spring break, I was horribly depressed again. I've often tried to describe what depression feels like, and somehow, I think I always come up short. Unlike cutting your hand, or breaking a bone, the pain is not entirely physical. It affects your outlook on things (of course!), so objectively noting what you're experiencing the very moment you experience it is a challenge.

Skinner Butte Blossoms

Despite that challenge, I tried thinking about it, and while reflecting, I came up with a few images. For example, I imagined that depression is like trying to run underneathe the waves of the winter ocean, akin to surfing on the opposite sides of the water. The cold tumbling currents wrap around your arms and legs, stiffening them, while also dragging and pulling on your body with the slightest movement. Or, I thought, depression is like having a companion monster who claims to love you, sit beside you on a little stool as it slowly, and remorselessly, eats your shadow, your shadow being that essential part of you which always keeps you rooted to the earth. The pain, the physical part, (aside from the lump that is just nearly in your throat), is a muscular hand clutching at the bottom of your brain stem, pushing blood up into your mind with a pulse or two. Fortunately, the grasp of that hand loosened today by a bit, probably because I had to get out of my own mind and attend to the necessary duty of going to school.

But school is not without its own problems. The instructors, all who appear to competent in the field that they teach, while discussing the course and its requirements, insisted that we must keep notebooks. Now, to my view, notes are a personal responsibility thing. The notes and the method of taking them should always be individual to the student and adapted to his needs. Yet, these instructors insist on regimenting a particular method for keeping notes, organizing them and the like, and, of course, I balked. It seems, yet again (with corresponding flashbacks to my previous class with which I had trouble), that the instructors are emphasizing behaviour over knowledge. Rather than trust that each student will learn to the best of their ability, the instructors try to enforce a one-size-fits-all study method to a diverse group of students, and I cannot express just how much I hate this. But, as I thought about it, I figured that the real issue is that I have already earned an undergraduate degree and, in the process, have already learned how to think critically. So, rather than just passively accept what I am told like many of the other students do (especially the younger ones), I think about what the best method of learning on my own would be. And frankly, this notebook scheme isn't it. And that thought further led me to the conclusion that I have been a student for way too long.

I have a couple of school schedule anomalies that I will trying to work out in the next couple of days. It isn't anything too important, just another one of those hassles life throws at you. Speaking of which, I also need to do my taxes ASAP. And, I have a slow leak in the rear passenger-side tire of my car. Soon, I'll have those things done, but I really wish spring break was two weeks long rather than just the one.

02 April 2008
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