18 September 2011

Different schools, and different policies on assignments

(And, getting started and keeping moving.)

Most of my classes this semester are at the same two year technical college I graduated from, in order to transfer to the university I attend. It is both strange and interesting to be back there; it's still the same, but because I'm not there all day like I used to be, I'm a little more detached. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I am in a different situation than most of my peers in my tech college classes.

My first university semester, I was very quickly overwhelmed-- it was a new place with new rules, PTSD made it hard to adjust, and so I fell behind in my assignments almost right away.  In the university classes, there was no such thing as late homework. It's in on time, or you don't get credit. End of story.

In my technical college classes, there's already a set policy in each of them for turning in assignments last (although with a penalty). Instructors seem to assume that at some point you're going to fall behind and need some help catching up. Deadlines can slide, a little bit.

Professors at my university assume that college is your life, and you don't make college your top priority, you don't belong here. Sometimes, yes, they are hardasses.

PTSD and depression can made deadlines hard to meet. If you have a bad day that lasts from Monday to Wednesday, boom- you're behind and you need to get caught up. Which can add more stress, and make the situation worse.

I'm behind in each of my classes, some more than others. The first weeks of this semester, I had a great deal of trouble getting into a groove. September 11 didn't help. At. All. I'm starting to catch up a little now, assignment by assignment. That's how I have to deal with it, one thing at a time. At one point, I had a list of all of the assignments I needed to finish, in priority and due date order. The list filled my laptop's screen, top to bottom. It looked overwhelming.

I rearranged my task list by class- now I was able to see where I was in each class. Better in some, worse in others. Looking at the list one class at a time, I was able to reprioritize what I was doing, and more importantly, actually get started on something. Past couple of days, I've been able to get a lot done.

Today, I overslept a little. Went to bed sometime after 0300, woke up around 1500. Still tired. When I wake up, I'm as productive as a bag of siberian sheep shit for the first couple of hours- until I get some coffee, and slowly get un-groggy. That's probably due to the trazodone, which help keep my nightmares in check and helps me sleep. Some nights, especially when I'm tired, it works almost too well. (I'll trade that for nightmares playing in my head every night. Trazodone doesn't stop all of them, but it damn sure helps.) I'm like that old car that needs extra time to warm up regardless of the temperature.

Some people, having gotten used to being up and moving at 0500 every day, pop out of bed like it's nothing. They swallow some coffee, eat a donut, grab the pack, and off they go. That's not me. But in trying to get myself started this semester, I've become increasingly accepting of that.

Yes, I need to be more productive than I am. I cannot blame PTSD and meds for everything. Ultimately it is me that needs to do the work. It seems that the more I get done, even in very small steps, the less I give a shit about the rest of the world and what they think. It's easy for me to get down in myself if my sleeping pattern is off, or if I look like death warmed over at some points during the day. That has started with me looking at what I need for sleep, taking my meds religiously at the same times every day, taking work, and travel time and class time and downtime all into account.

And... that means I don't have time for much else. It would be fun, and probably healthy, for me to be involved with the student vets org here. It would also be fun to spend some time in the comp sci lab/lounge that's run by students. Those things are an important part of college, but right now I need to focus on grades. Even more important, I need to make the habits that make a student successful permanent for me.

Speaking of which, it's 1700 and I haven't accomplished much besides making coffee and writing this post- so I'm off to get to it.

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