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10 February 2010

Improvise, adapt, overcome. Or just wing it.

I could say a great deal about the process of getting used to a top tier research university. There are entire courses in adapting to life at such a place, and I'm in such a class at such a university. I'm sure there are some dissertations written about veterans and adjusting to life at such a place, but I haven't yet mastered finding them among the 50+ libraries on this campus. (Note: At the two year community college I attended last semester, the library took less than half of the floor space of the second floor of one building.)

I suppose I could say something about social interactions-- I have located the local lab that houses computer science geeks, and the local veteran's group (whose office I'm in right now). Friends take time to make, especially when everyone's so busy. Academics come first though. That's why I'm here.

And I'm falling behind. Quickly.

All other adjustments aside, academics are kicking my ass. The coursework here requires a great deal more time to handle than I was used to at the community college I came from. I've been feeling at a slight disadvantage because one of my classes relies heavily on a class that I'm also currently taking. That's where it started. I was feeling a little overwhelmed last week, then I had to work outside all day Saturday fighting crowds and being in charge-- and then I had to work Tuesday night. Little things quickly snowball into big things. I was running as hard as I could and not quite keeping up with the train. Then I lost a little ground. Now I'm going up hill and the train's not slowing down.

So, this morning, I looked up the local university heath clinic's counseling service. I'd been thinking about doing so at some point anyway. It was a vague idea that at some point I would, but I did not expect it to be so soon. Oh well. I don't know how to say to my professors "I have PTSD, I'm having trouble adjusting, and this is why I'm late with assignments." I also don't know where to look for how to do that, since it's another case of there not being a manual with instructions. So this afternoon, instead of going to class and turning in my assignment, I'm going to talk to a counselor who hopefully will be able to help.

I'm not headed to the VA hospital this time, even though it's right down the street. That's not to say I don't think they can help-- they continue to take very good care of me. My current situation is an academic one, it's a learning in spite of a disability thing, and so I need to talk to people who work with things academic. (I have learned, through trial error and experience, that sometimes you have to find people that help with specific things, rather than just "help".)

I might have to learn a few new tricks, and I don't know what they are yet. That's scary.

I do know that I'm going to get through this. That's being stubborn.

(How's that saying go? "The only easy day was yesterday...")

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