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BY Amanda

01/01 Direct Link
Happy New Year! 2012 will be a great year for me. I hope you can say the same. If nothing else happens, this will be the year that I get my degree. I couldn't have foreseen the incredible up hill battle that this has been when I started, but, likewise, I could not have imagined the excitement as the time draws closer and I still can't quite imagine the euphoria when it's completed. Today, however, has been spent in fairly quiet contemplation. Simply put, I want to be better this year, kinder, stronger, wiser. I want to look back satisfied.
01/02 Direct Link
I'm determined that this year I'm not going to keep writing about my incredibly busy schedule and how much I have to do. So I'm not going to write about how I feel as if I've wasted the whole time from Christmas without finishing half of what I had planned. I'm not even going to touch on the incredibly uncomfortable feelings of feeling inadequate and dumb. And, I'm certainly not going to write about how stressed and desperate I'm starting to feel as the days seem to slip by like water through my fingers. No, not this year!  
01/03 Direct Link
I've never been much good at making polite small talk. It all just seems like a waste of time really, but I hadn't realised just how inept I was until someone was chatting with me the other day and my mind just went blank. It's really quite embarassing to have pregnant pauses where you know the other person is expecting you to maintain a conversation, and for their sake, you would like to, but can think of absolutely nothing to say. You would think someone who has no problem writing things down would be fine, but that just isn't so!
01/04 Direct Link
I'm pretty tired at the moment and it is beginning to show. My usual happy veneer is beginning to crumble and people are starting to see through the cracks. As I can usually bluff my way through most things this is a disconcerting situation for me. Unfortunately, my pleas to be left aloneare being met with well meaning smiles and the individuals doing quite the opposite - trying to "fix" me. I don't want to look at the bright side right now, and I'm too tired to explain or to fight. I really, really wish they would just go away! 
01/05 Direct Link
The "let's fix Amanda" project has become embarassing. My boss announced in front reception that I look miserable.  I retreated to my office with my dignity in shreds and when she followed and demanded to know what was going on, I firmly thanked her for her concern, confirmed I am miserable, but told her I didn't want to talk about it. That's how I would normally handle it, but I wasn't prepared for the unbidden tears when she left. It took a walk, a muffin I didn't want and some deep breaths to regain my composure.
01/06 Direct Link
Today passed in harmonious mutual denial. I pretended to be happier and my boss pretended to believe me. That works for me. Everyone is allowed a few off-days and I rarely let mine show. D was away for a few days and I think unconsciously I finally allowed myself a couple of grieving days. I try to be positive most of the time - he doesn't need a stressed out mum to worry about on top of everything else. Everyone has tough times - this will pass. But until it does I don't have the energy to fight battles I can't win.
01/07 Direct Link

I've been trying to write a research report for over a week and have got nowhere. Today,after a lovely sleep, finally, I'm more focussed and the words are flowing. That is a relief! I wasn't sure what I was going to do if my fuzzy head continued. The pressure to get exceptional marks in this subject doesn't help. But it's time to stop focussing on the marks and just enjoy the subject. It is fascinating, so it's time to immerse myself in it and stop stressing! I can only do my best (please let it be enough!)

01/08 Direct Link
I have been feeling pretty unmotivated lately and then feeling guilty because I'm unmotivated. My path has felt a little up hill and rocky. I was sitting in church today thinking about how inadequate I felt when in my mind's eye I saw myself pushing a broken down car to get to church. I arrived dirty, sweaty and tired, but through a massive effort I got there. Sometimes life isn't neat and it isn't pretty, but getting there is the important thing. I can't do it all right now, but if I try my best each day then it's enough.
01/09 Direct Link
Yesterday had a profound impact on me. We compare the worst of us with the best in others, atleast I do. I fail to take into account the degree of difficulty that the task involves. I can't spend 12 hours a day in front of a computer, be a confidante to my friends and children, cook a perfect meal each night, have a perfectly clean house, and look perfectly manicured, get high distinctions for all my subjects, be a whiz at my job and astound everyone with my intellect. I can try, but I'll never be perfect, and that's ok.
01/10 Direct Link
My optimistic side is beginning to win out again. Even when I realised I'd stayed up until 5am the other morning working on some stats for an assignment and they were the wrong tests - I wasn't devestated. That's good news.

Tomorrow we have our new intake of interns. They are always timid and shy as they face their first days practising as a doctor in a busy Emergency Department. But they'll get there. Most of us don't bite and those that do are usually patients. Atleast we make allowances for their timidity and lack of experience. We're not so bad. 
01/11 Direct Link

I know you think I'm smart, and oh, how I wish you were right. You have no idea how I tiptoe on the tightrope between pass and fail; how close I come to failing each semester. I have no idea how I get the marks I do, because, honestly, what I know could probably fit on the back of a postage stamp. And the more I learn the more I realise I know nothing. And what will happen at the end of this degree when they let me loose on an unsuspecting public? Who knows, but atleast I'll be careful!

01/12 Direct Link
 I saw you lying in the hospital bed tonight and my heart lurched. You're always supposed to be there. You can't be that sick! You are the one that showed me what endurance and tenacity was all about. You gave me the perfect example of what it means to dig deep. You didn't tell me, you showed me. Every time I feel it getting too hard, I go back to your example, take a deep breath and keep moving. I do that because you showed me how to. Now, I see a frail, scared man and I'm scared too.
01/13 Direct Link
Four surgeries in five days was never going to be a good idea. I'm glad they decided not to go ahead today. I'm also glad that I'm around to help you negotiate the hospital system. I don't often see you being the vulnerable one, so it's nice that I can be strong for you for once. At least I can do that. Life is tough enough for you right now. I fear this may be a life changing event for you and I'm not sure the change will be entirely positive. Don't let them make you into someone you're not!
01/14 Direct Link
There are days when I hate computers. To be fair, usually they are the days when they don't work for me. I spent nearly ten uninterrupted hours last night running statistics for a report and at 11pm realised that I'd left something out and had to start all over again! On the bright side, the second time was quicker and I'm a little more proficient now. On the down side I'm struggling a bit today to keep focussed. This feeble brain of mine is protesting! I predict that this is going to be a very, very long weekend.
01/15 Direct Link
Politeness has a lot to answer for. It might help keep the peace, but there are times when it's not all it's cracked up to be. Being really honest probably wouldn't help the situation, but it would make me feel soooo much better. On the other hand, perhaps you're not ready for it. The truth can be brutal. If it were me, I would rather be on the receiving end of someone who tempered truth with thoughtfulness and kindess.We're all at different stages in our development and there are probably things I need to imporove on in different areas.
01/16 Direct Link
My life is a whirlwind of essays, research reports, paperwork to employ doctors and other associated bits and pieces. The word paperwork conjours up vivid memories of the 20 odd pages of forms for medical board registration, together with the myriad of other documentation required. It's a wonder we don't kill an entire tree everytime we register a doctor. Everything else has paled besides the research report that I'm writing at the moment and especially the dreaded statistics! I really will never be a statistician. It takes me ages to remember the nuances of regression versus ANOVA - my head whirls!
01/17 Direct Link
Just when I think I finally have a grasp of things I find myself pacing the floor muttering things like "I know what the independent variable is, but what the heck is the dependent variable in this scenario?" It would be funny if it wasn't so scary and if the rest of my career didn't depend on me not only getting this right, but doing exceptionally well in the process. However, after weeks of agonizing (literally), I think, finally this report is done. Considering that the report is 60 pages long, it's no wonder it's been a major project. Yay!!!
01/18 Direct Link
I'm not one for melodrama, but this is a disaster. How could I have misread something so simple? Well, actually that's easy to answer - because none of the damn stats books were clear about identifying it. Missing something vital means a complete rewrite, and I have less than 24 hours to do it in. Not only do I have to revisit this assignment again but I can feel the panic setting in as the days up to exams slipping through my fingers.  Well, I can stress or I can work, but not both! Time to dig deep!
01/19 Direct Link
The good thing about the last couple of days is that I've swallowed my pride and admitted I can't do everything. I've taken the next couple of days off to try to chip away at the mountain of work that needs to be accomplished before the 7th of Feb. Amazingly, I'm flying through it, and managing about a week's work each day. They are very long days, but I'm getting there. Sociology is now finished and I can put the books away. Psych is a different story but if I work really, really hard it's do-able, just not comfortable.  
01/20 Direct Link
I'd like to say I've managed to keep up with 100words in the last few days, but the truth is that the days have blurred into endless hours of study interspersed with the occasional nap. It's left no time for anything but my books. But, I'm only a couple of days behind and so I reckon under the circumstances a catch up is ok. I was going to be sooo good this year, but, hey life happens. The important thing is I'm trying. I'm actually amazed at how much I'm actually remembering from past subjects. The pieces are coming together.
01/21 Direct Link
Who would have thought that something as simple as an educated guess (a heuristic) could be transformed into something so complex that they test it against multiple regression and other statistical procedures that I can't even pronounce to see how effective it is. Only in psychology could they complicate things so much! But the results are fascinating and show that when you come right down to it, often making a best guess leads to a better outcome than hours of deliberation. And, we perform better when we don't have time to take things slowly, providing we're familiar with the task.
01/22 Direct Link

I'm tired of it all today. I'm tired of the expectation that I'll be everywhere and do everything. You're supportive until it impacts on you and then suddenly you're like a bear with a sore head. I'm not having my TV interrupted, I'm working 18 hours a day, and incidentally, for a damned good reason. I've been there for you for years and it's my time. I'll be there again soon enough, but for now, I need to do this for me. It's my time to pursue my goals. I'd support you to pursue your goals in a heart beat.

01/23 Direct Link
First day back at work and frankly, I don't want to be here. I'd really rather be at home, learning, growing and progressing. Instead, I'm listening to pushy, demanding people who can't wait for me to finish one task before asking me to begin the next. Seriously - if you've seen shows like ER where 6 people are all talking at once, that's about how it is, and they're all talking at me. Not to me, because that would imply something mutual. The only mutual thing is how quickly I can do what they want as they vie for my attention. 
01/24 Direct Link
Please brain you need to work better. I know you are tired and want a break - and you can have one - but just not yet. Another 2 weeks and you can go to jelly for a whole week if you want, but absolutely not before. Right now you need to be sharper than ever before. You need to be able to remember every single word you have read in the last 12 weeks and be able to cross reference it with everything else you know. I know you can do it. You just have to hang in a little longer...
01/25 Direct Link
Tomorrow is a public holiday and I can't wait. I really need to focus and a whole day is such a luxury. There is strong evidence that for non-cued recall (so no prompts) our memory is better when we have short bursts of info. So, in terms of study that means lots of short sessions with breaks. Unfortunately when you work full time and study after hours that's a bit hard to achieve. But a whole day - that's awesome. I can study, relax for half an hour, study, nap for an hour and study some more. What a luxury!
01/26 Direct Link
Today is Australia Day. Celebrated by white Australians as the day that our nation came into existence. Despised by native Australian's as the day they lost their home and were oppressed under British rule. In truth, the Indigenous Australian's were treated appallingly. It's not something we should be proud of. However, we should find some room to celebrate who we are now, as well as remember and determine never to go back to who we were. At the very least, it should be a day to spend with family and friends rejoicing in the freedom we have now. Times change.
01/27 Direct Link
I can't get into a rhythm this week. I'm working today and tomorrow and then taking Sunday and Monday off and the days are now all skewed in my head. I find myself working as if today is Monday again. I'm such a creature of habit. I quite like the idea of working when others are playing and playing when others are working. It gives me time out. I'm more productive on the days when others don't expect me to be at work and I'm more productive at home when everyone else is out of the house. A win-win.
01/28 Direct Link
The amount of people who walked past my door and queried why I was working on a Saturday was actually quite touching. It is very kind of them to be so concerned. I've actually spent a lovely day, mostly in my own company, just ploughing through paperwork. And there was a LOT of paperwork.

My evening, in contrast, has been spent with a good friend looking at one of the most stunning sunsets I have ever seen as the sun dipped slowly below a horizon of endless sea. I love the beach, and I really, really love it at sunset.
01/29 Direct Link
I kind of hit the wall today. That wouldn't be such a bad thing to happen on a Sunday except that exams are two weeks away and this is not the time to run out of steam. I've spent the day nodding off every time I sit down or stop moving. Very embarassing when people are speaking to you. I try to be polite but I can start to feel my eyes glaze and my smile fix after the first 60 seconds and if I haven't physically moved by the 3 minute mark then I'm in deep trouble. Sorry guys.
01/30 Direct Link
The tiredness has continued today and sleeping has occupied a fair part of my day. I figure if I'm this tired nothing is going to be absorbed anyway, so I might just as well sleep and get enough energy for a final pre-exam spurt. And, sleeping aids consolidation and recall. I'm at the "oh crap, I don't know nearly enough" stage. I always get here just before exams and it's not melodrama, it's really true. If I were to sit the exam today I'd fail miserably. But the exam is a week away and panic is a wonderful motivator.
01/31 Direct Link
I'm not sure how we managed to schedule a departmental planning day, the first day of the new term, time sheet submission week, the prep for the new roster to be written and the deadline for all of the leave for the year to be in, in one week, but it wasn't a smart move. The deadlines are ridiculous and I'm never going to make it. That's ok. I'll shut the door and do my best. I'll probably achieve more than I'd thought I could, but not as much as I had hoped. That's life. And then there's exam prep...