Along the lines of possible

13 Feb

Thursday night I started to get sick. Not so unusal for me really. I have a tendency to be sick a lot, poor health, weak body. It doesn’t mean I don’t try, though. If anything, my weaknesses in this area are my reason for overcompensation in other areas. I’m stubborn to a fault.

I had bronchitis during my field school, I couldn’t breath yet there I was to shovel and sift. Jan drove me home and yelled at me to not come in until I was better.

“I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.”  ~Thomas Carlyle

So, back to the beginning. When I found myself still feeling pretty sick Friday morning, no biggy. Sure it felt a bit worse than normal but that means that it would pass faster. I went to class, could barely think much less concentrate on others’ words, and got through half of the day. And I gave in finally, called for a ride and promptly fell over.

Moral of the story is, that there is such thing as pushing oneself too much. I had planned over Friday night and Saturday to write three papers and study for my Chemistry exam all for Monday. I planned to get caught up on my readings. Instead, I couldn’t get out of bed until this afternoon. My fever averaged 101^F, but peaked at 103^F and I had minor dehydration.

I was planning on spending today work free, using today to celebrate my SO’s birthday and Valentine’s day with him all in one. Instead I’m stuck working because I pushed my body too hard once again.

But so far two of my three papers are done and its only 7:30. I’ve studies some chemistry and I’ve started the third paper. I’ll get it all done tonight, I’m positive, but Valentine’s Day and his birthday celebrations won’t be happening fully until next weekend.

There are three things to take from this:

  1. Don’t push yourself forward so hard that you end up falling behind.   As the Great Aesop said, “Slow and steady wins the race.”  And if that means taking a day off to let yourself recover so that you can continue being 100%, awesome.  Also, not waiting until the last second to get everything that needs to be done over with.
  2. Always make a Plan B.  You can’t be overly disappointed, sad, hopeless, etc when something doesn’t work out becuase there’s always another way.
  3. It really is possible to do anything.  Yeah, half the time I spent in delirium from a fever, the other half crying because I couldn’t concentrate on writing and I thought “Well, there goes my grade. I’ll never get this done!”  But here I am (okay writing a blog post instead of…) doing the work and having most of it done.  All I had to do was keep my calm and just do it.

Motivational Music

11 Feb

Everyone has a favorite song.  Something for pick-me-ups, or something to relate to when sad.  Lyrics that they love to belt out.   Do people have a song that just makes them inspired to be great?  Personally, I do.

Right now, I’m feeling miserable. I’m stressed to all get out, on the verge of tears even, and with the stuffiest nose and sorest throat I’ve had in many months now.  I had to wake up at 6am (normal for me is 9 or 10 – boohoo) to finish career research papers I’ve had weeks to do which will decide my continuation in the McNair Scholars Program.  Another boo to me!

But when I hear Beethoven’s 9th Symphony the world seems a little better.  Its a story.  A getting going, a grand adventure, some loss and losing of the way, but in the end triumphant.  I can make an argument with myself that the 2nd Movement (Scherzo) is my favorite, but it really is the context of the other movements that make it.

If you got a lot of time, listen to the whole symphony.  If not, take a taste of this below. (And as a note, this isn’t the complete 2nd Movement.)

Perfectionism, the source of all (my) evil!

7 Feb

As part of the McNair Scholars career seminar at Grand Valley, we were to read a short article on procrastination.  I found it really to be quite a good blog posting on the issue and can be found here.  And as I won’t be talking much about it since I feel that that covers it, I implore you to read it.

Perfectionism doesn’t only lead to procrastination however… It can lead to so many more terrible things.  Pessimism, depression, academic nihilism, self-destruction, lethargy among many others. And when they’re all mixed together, it makes for some bitter soup.

For me, these are especially true.  Let me tell you a little story.

Not all that long ago, and for the better part of my life I sought to be acknowledged for the intelligence that I possess — I felt that it’s what made me stand out.  I didn’t get good grades, mostly due to that nasty thing called perfectionism.  I procrastinated, I didn’t get work done.  Work I did do, I didn’t turn in because it wasn’t good enough and I thought I’d be judged.  My grades started their gradual downfall during 6th grade for me.  I didn’t even care that I got a detention for every 2nd assignment I didn’t turn in.  But then I started hearing “I’m disappointed in you” and “I know you’re smarter than these grades” and “Why can’t you do better?” at the parent-teacher conference (on both sides).  Thus began my fears that I would never be good enough to please those that I sought the praise and acknowledgement from.

And I didn’t do the work except which interested me.  So, I got A’s in a few classes per semester in Jr. High and High School… and that pulled me along.  There was a school I had really wanted to go to for college — because all along this I still valued knowledge as the most important trait one could have — but my high school grades were nowhere near good enough for Grand Valley.  I pulled up my GPA just a little and managed to send out some applications to other places.

And I got accepted to Wayne State.  But the classes didn’t interest me or they were too hard.  I withdrew from all but on by the end of the semester and managed a C in that last one.  Then I didn’t both signing up for the classes for the next semester.  I went to community college.  And it was easy, and I took classes that interested me and got As.  I worked at a couple and were surprised that I could do well.  After a couple of years dilly dallying with nothing to really show for it except some new random knowledge about all sorts of things, I finally got enough credits and a high enough GPA to apply as a transfer student to Grand Valley.

There I was… first year transfer.  Shy, roommate from a foreign country who liked to hang out with other SE Asians, and without my family or friends that I had been hanging out with for the past four years. Alone. Depressed.  The worst depression that I had felt since a little stint I had in a hospital.  I would like to blame outside sources of turmoil for my failings there, but it really was me and my attitudes that caused it.

Then, I missed a few days of classes because I didn’t want to leave my room, much less my bed. I fell behind.  I couldn’t find the will in me to catch up, but I talked to people and I tried.  I was given a second chance and I made the effort to make up past work.  But then time came again when I just didn’t want to get out of bed again… different this time.  I just couldn’t see how I could possibly get an A now, and for me an A was all that mattered.

Over Winter break between semesters, I got some supporting words.  I was told that hey, if Grand Valley didn’t work out I could always try for Oakland University which would be closer to everyone.  I contemplated it for a bit.

I can’t remember if it was over time or right away I realized my splitting path.  I also remembered one of my favorite poems — Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It’s always held some significance for me.  Being independent, creative, a treader of new or less travelled paths.  I take that to heart.   In this moment that I’ve been describing however… it was clear that one was the easier of the two to navigate, safer.  I could stay with one of my parents, be close to home, attempt to get the degree from somewhere else where it was just easier to do.

But no, I told myself, slapped myself really.  No.  This is the school you have been wanting to go to since you were 15.  This is the school that you dreamed about.  This is what you want.  You will always wonder what could have been. You will always wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t given up.  You will never ever be satisfied with yourself if you take that safer path.  This would be something that you’d regret for the rest of your life.

So prove yourself, I yelled at me. Prove that you’re worth something.  And who gives a damn if others will never give you their approval. Just freaking do it!

And I did. Two years after that first semester, I’m taking my last make-up class finally.  I learned that I do have what it takes to be an archaeologist (but that’s another story all together — maybe next time).  I learned that I can.  I can.  From a first semester with two W’s and two E’s -> two semesters later, Lambda Alpha Anthropology Honor’s Society -> two years after that first semester, three A’s and an A- and the Dean’s List.

As cheesy as it may sound, I learned that anything is possible as long as the willpower and understanding that the path won’t be easy. 

And maybe a little more importantly,  a ‘B’ is good enough.

Holcombe Beach – Paleoindians in Macomb County

25 Jan

Historic Marker for the Holcombe Beach Site

As I gather data and sources for my literature review, I stumbled upon something rather exciting.  I already knew of Holcombe Beach as being the source of name for a specific type of Projectile Point.  What I didn’t know is that it is practically in SO’s parent’s backyard — just a few miles away from their house.  What else I didn’t know is that its now a baseball park with some stands and diamonds pretty much over the top of it.

On one hand, I’m rather excited.  On the other, I feel that its kind of tragic that the only significance given to this site is the random chance that they might stumble upon the historic marker, which is a bit dated in language in my opinion, but hey at least there is one.

Strangely enough I had a dream last night that my Archaeological Methods class took a field trip to this site (all the way across the state of Michigan) becuase the original excavators never finished one of the units so we were going to!  And we found so much and it gained so much popularity the Macomb County officials decided to tear down the baseball park and build a museum to catalog the county’s rich history from Paleoindian settlement all the way to the present.   And it was a glorious museum with labs and amazing exhibits.  Macomb County has a couple non-government museums opperating through tour fees and/or donations — but nothing like this.

This little website about Holcombe Beach, not by any government, is all that we get for now.  Perhaps we’ll see some changes in the future — until then, I can have my nice little dreams.

A sad loss

23 Jan

A great woman was lost last night, someone I had a great deal of respect for.  I admit that I didn’t know her all that personally.  But from the few times that we”d talked, she’d always given me advice or let me vent, or she brought so much life with her to whatever we were doing.  I can probably count the times I’d talked with her on all my digits, but they were memorable.  Among them, sitting on her porch waiting for my mother to come pick me up after hanging out with her sons.  She gave me some advice about getting along with my mom then, which I didn’t quite take so seriously then, but upon recent reflection may seem a bit more important.  She had a certain kind of strength and vitality and love of adventure that you don’t see in many people in current times.  At same said son’s wedding reception to another of my dearest friends, well… lets just say I’m sure I don’t like Hot Damn at all. 🙂    She is still dearly loved, and strongly missed by so many people – a testament to her strength of character and how many lives she touched.  I don’t claim to have known her as well as others, but she did certainly touch my life only in positive ways.

Unable are the Loved to die
For Love is Immortality,
Nay, it is Deity --

Unable they that love -- to die
For Love reforms Vitality
Into Divinity.
- Emily Dickinson

My heart goes out to all those who mourn her, but I don’t quite know the right words to offer in comfort.  I’m pretty poor at that type of thing, really.  I can just hope to be there in any capacity that they need me and hope that they know they have my truest sympathies.

Short summary of the rest of the week…

22 Jan

Car broke down.  Got it towed.  Missed classes because walking 3 miles in -2F didn’t sound so safe to my health. Especially when I don’t know where my ear covers are and my coat doesn’t close.  I also missed my McNair seminar because of the situation, but I have plans to get caught up on that.  And, I’m getting a new (for me) car tomorrow, courtesy of SO’s parents and my dad.  It is quite exciting.  My dad is coming to do a minor fix on the old car that I was driving while bringing the new one, then taking that one home. 

I’ve been busy doing a lot of reading and playing with statistics and graphs for many of my classes.  I ordered two books on amazon, using gift cards I earned through things like internet surveys and Swagbucks.com.  The Early Mesoamerican Village by Kent Flannery and Ungendering Civilization by K. Anne Pyburn.  The first is for ARC 400, the latter for ANT 405.  Both seem pretty interesting, we’ll see.

I’m feeling… down.  In general, stress of everything and missing classes and bad things happening.  Plus SO not having a job at the moment.  Its all very tiresome to me.  I’ve lost myself in not doing schoolwork these past few days.  I need to make a list.  Lists make me feel better for some reason… just knowing exactly what to do and what needs to be done, then ordering it, and checking it off as they are accomplished.  In and of itself its stress relieving.  I’m going to go do that.

Go figure!

18 Jan

When you get more work done you feel less stressed! Go figure!   Well, sometimes I need to remind myself.   Doesn’t help that stress brings out my inability to concentrate without perfect quiet or music blaring in my ears to drown everything else out.  Significant Other has classes two nights a week, tonight and tomorrow night.  Good things that, place to myself and punk rock coming out the stereo at deafening volumes is only allowed when he’s away.

Yesterday, however, was a little more productive.  I got my weekly readings done for Anthro Theory and completed the weekly journal for that class.  I also got three of my five career/interest tests done for my McNair career seminars. Some results? Sure!

True Colors test had me rank categories of words from 1-4 to see what my personality type color is.  My color points:  Green 20; Gold 12; Blue 11; Orange 7.  Gold means something about being dependable, traditional, and organized, Blue is sympathetic and caring, and Orange is adventurous and courageous. (Why do I feel like this is Hogwarts Houses?)  They gave me a looooong printout for Green.

As a Green you may be the most reluctant of all the colors to do things in a traditional manner.  Greens tend to be natural leaders.

You may be an exceptionally deep thinker.  Other may use words about you such as intelligent, clever, or witty.

You respect competence and intellectual abilities both in yourself and in others.  You may want to understand and control the realities of life, and are on the lookout for new projects, new activities and new procedures.  You are usually the driving force behind any organization or activity in which you participate.

Having control can be very important to you, becuase it represents the power to aquire the multiple abilities on which you pride yourself.  You tend to feel best about yourself when you are solving problems and your ideas are recognized.  Many of you (Greens) become entrepreneurs and work for yourselves, because of your need for innovation and control.

You tend to have a very broad base of information and usually know something about a variety of topics or issues.  you are more likely to express a global perspective rather than a narrow one.  In most instances you are an objective thinker who needs to know the theory or the principle behind any concept and detest simplistic explanations.

You can suceed in a variety of occupations as long as the job does not involve too much humdrum routine.  You tend to lose interest once the work is no longer challenging.

As an employee, you may work against the system just for the joy of being one-up on the person in authority.  Guard against this tendency, because this can make for a very unpleasant work environment, and can lead to dismissal.  However, you can be a tremendous asset to any work environment that values your analytical, independent and ingenious nature.

On the list of occupations for that, anthropologist and archaeologist as well as a lot of other science-y jobs feature.

The other one I took, MicroSkills asked me about what work skills I valued the most and had me rank the top 5, middle 10, and last 20 (but leave out about 40 or so of the other skills that I didn’t value at all).  Ratings above 30 are good matches. My top one was 45 and that was production clerk.  FBI agent and Archivist tied at 43.  There’s a whole bunch more, but Archaeolgist (39) and Anthropologist (38) were on the list, so I’m feeling pretty okay with my choice of occupation thus far.  Something that I did find quite interesting was that I scored the same for Archaeologist as I did for Criminologist – which is a field that someone I know (who reads this blog) is interested in and we’re always commenting on how alike our personalities are. 🙂

The third one sent the results to the career counseling center, so I won’t know that until Friday.  And the two others I have to do are handwritten rankings of a list of skills and tasks that I was given that would satisfy me in doing.  I’m finding these things slightly tedious.  I know what I want to do as a career, I know my personality, and I know how well I’d fit into all of it.  I guess its just part of the whole, but by taking time out of day when I could be reading other assignments – or being in class, as these seminars cut into my schedule.

In turn for my getting a bunch of work done… I allowed myself to play some WoW today.  I didn’t really spend my time doing dailies or anything.  Instead, I found myself playing my Tauren Paladin for a little bit.  Oh I know how nerdy this must sound, but a lot of my friends play and its a good way to keep in touch, have some fun, and relax.  They don’t have 12 million players for nothing, you know.  Perhaps this tops off the nerdiness of the game, each race that you can play as has in most cases extensive backstories and origins — I love figuring out the real-life cultural inspiration for these in game races.  For instance, Orcs, my favorite race in the game, bear very close historical traits with some African slaves.  Their relatives back in their homeland as grasslands people who live in huts, they were slaves to both demons and humans at key points in their past.  But they also show some signs of being much like the warring states of fuedal Japan and samurai,  much of their driving force is about honor and loyalty to their clans.  Another, the Tauren, and Plains Indians through and through but I’ll spare the details.  I stayed away from the game for a while, then my SO finally got me to play it and after just a bit of the storyline and lore I was completely hooked.  So now, I’ve been playing for nearly 3 years and still paying $15 a month to do so.

In any case, I need to read one chapter in my Chemistry book still and about 10 more articles for this week and a couple from last week to still catch up on.  If I don’t update my blog every day, I hope that its understandable.

Until next time!