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Starting Off Right

Posted Jan 22 2013 5:46pm

Afternoon Friends!

It is with a mix of emotions to say that second semester of nursing school has officially begun again and it’s time for me to come back from LaLa Land. Although I did work a whole bunch over the break, I also slept in way too late on days that I could, often not doing anything even close to being productive until the afternoon, errr or the whole day. Once I get back into the schedule of early wake up calls, getting ready the night before, and the mentality of school mode, everything (including my own somewhat negative outlook on this program) will improve.

As I have mentioned probably far too many times on my blog, my first semester was ROUGH and as the months progressed and my grades steadily declined, my mental and physical states were dropped as well. I have already talked about all of this in detail so no need to repeat it here, but it’s essential that I do remember what it was like just some weeks ago- how I was feeling about myself, how discouraged and frustrated I became, confidence was going down… I was starting to spiral. It seemed that not matter how much time I put into studying, preparing, sitting through class and such, my grades stayed around a solid C-. Ouch.

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Now while I would like to blame the difficulty of the program on all of this, how unfair the tests were based on the information they taught, units spaced oddly apart but then others would be right on top of each other, etc, I simply cannot. Yes the program has its faults (many in fact and this is not coming from my bitter standpoint), but I am also to blame for what happened as the semester progressed. I noticed what was occurring yet made few changes, hoping what I was doing at the time would eventually workout…. this all pertaining to my grades/worth ethic/study skills, but also my physical and mental health.

On that note, allow me to get into the main topic of what I hoped to get to way sooner than now haha. Can’t even tell you how many times I do that on here… GOALS and PLANS for this semester, ones that will get myself out of the way (or the disordered/sense of failure side), and actually succeed in what is to come.

Plus the next few months are all about Maternal Child Nursing Care, much more interesting that necessary foundation crap. Alright goals comin’ at ya.

1) First and foremost my cellphone is simply not allowed in class. I mean REALLY I need to cut the crap on this habit already and shut it off as soon as I enter the room. I only whip out because it’s there and I feel it will entertain me during an often slow-moving lecture. While that is true, it also inevitably leads to be DISTRACTED aka missing important information. This one is a no-brainer to me. texting-in-class

2) Accept the fact that I am going to feel anxious about long periods of sitting and minimal activity during the day. This is yet another complaint I have shouted about on here before and it remains to be a major mental obstacle. It’s not necessarily about weight/fear of weight gain either, but more that I know how sitting for excessive amounts of time is simply not good for the human body. OH-FLIPPEN-WELL I don’t have a choice here and if I allow my brain to dwell on the lack of activity my ability to pay attention declines at a quick rate… no information is retained, I do badly on tests, I am miserable and so on.

We do have random breaks throughout the day and for my the sake of my sanity, I plan to move around during those times. Well not if it’s like 5-10 minutes, that seems a bit absurd. But if there is a 20 min or more time window I have, you had better believe I am walking around somewhere. I will say that this will not occur at every break, as I realize the importance of socializing with my fellow students and friends.

3) Sit closer to the front and near the door in order to get up when I need or want to, but more importantly to pay MORE attention to the professor. When you are up front and you know they can see what you are doing, I am a whole lot less likely to start doodling, day dreaming, whispering to friends, under the fear of scrutiny. Another no-brainer if you ask me.

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4) Give my brain FUEL aka food. The new nutrition plan I explained last week is continuing to go well, and now more than ever I realize the importance of not only feeding my body but my BRAIN as well. This is nothing new but when you are hungry it’s hard to pay attention to much else… Now escalate that into a slow-starvation that has been lasting the last few weeks, months, years, and you are in major trouble.

Being able to focus on one activity, one stimulus is nearly impossible when your body is in a slow state of decline. When I began delving into old habits last semester, one of the first ones I started up again was the restricting in the morning business. You would think after all that I know about the importance of breakfast (that it gives you energy yes, but also speeds up your metabolism <– says every magazine ever), that this would be a permanent healthy habit I have adopted. NOPE… not eating too early became something I focused my attention on and I am sure you can guess where this led to- a very hungry, light-headed, tired Tessa unable to give my full learning abilities to the lecture. Retaining information in that state? Heck to the no.

Food is fuel

5) Re-read and go over the lecture right after (or soon after) class has ended. I’m pretty sure I have made this a goal of mine for the better part of my academic experience and yet have never done so. Enough is enough already, I KNOW this will be beneficial for me. Plus repetition seems to be the best way I retain information, and while I wish I was someone who simply can recount everything they have read/listened to just once, I can’t and that’s the end of it.

6) Stop working out before classes unless they start at 9:00 or after. For the past several YEARS I have declared myself as someone who OMG LOVES early morning workouts, “gives me energy! I feel so accomplished after! I have no problem waking up at the ass crack of dawn, working out hard and then trying to stay awake the next day!” <– This my friends, is a whole bunch of Bull Sh*t. I did this because (yes did want to get it out of the way), but also to give myself “permission” to eat normally the rest of the day.

Perhaps I used to be an early-morning riser but not anymore and when I consistently wake up around 5-5:30, I feel awful nearly all of the time, it seems no matter how early I go to bed the previous night. I am passing out during class too, cute when I am the one known for constantly nodding off.

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Plus, my workouts pretty much suck at that time. I believe I have transitioned away from early morning workouts because of all of the abuse I have put my body through- it simply cannot stay energized like it used to. Never fueling/stretching/cooling down and warming up/restricting will do that to you. Sooo now going to workout after is A-OK, gives me a mental break from studying, I have much more energy later on = more successful time at the gym/on a run, and it continues to get my mind away from my old mentality of working out= burning calories and not getting fat. Clearly it’s time to disregard that FOR-EV-ER.

Click here to view the embedded video.

7) When I don’t want to read, study, take notes, practice for clinical and skills lab (okay so any sort of work that has to do with school), I will not start another project of some kind, usually one that involves cleaning. Suddenly I think that vacuuming the whole house is a much better idea than studying and whoops 3 hours have gone by and I have done NATHIN. Do the work first, the stuff you don’t want to right away… breaks in there yes, but not 3 hour cleaning binges.

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8) Go get extra help before I even think I need it. Last semester I found excuses not to go to the professors when I didn’t understand something… honestly I was just being lazy. Yeah no, I am well aware of how beneficial this is, plus it allows you to make your presence among the staff known and get more friendly with everyone.

9) Accept the fact that I will not be able to do things I want to all of the time. This statement probably sounds dumb/absurd but it’s a state of mind that stands in my way. The eating disorder has made me one selfish person - one that is incredibly unwilling to do anything for anyone else, or different than their usual activities, because that would lead to a dent in my “perfect” routine. Of course this was one that led me further and further down the road toward misery yet I believed it was the end all and be all of what my life had to look like.

Routine

I am of course better now, but I do find myself unwilling at times to accept that I need to work REALLY HARD for this. It’s just two years of my life and in the grand scheme of things, that is really not a lot at all. If I hold onto what I thought would lead me to happiness, well I will simply go nowhere with my life and that is the plain, uncomfortable truth.

10) Blog when I have something to say, that I want to tell you, when I feel like doing so. I am not necessarily taking an “official break” like last semester, but I am also not going to format my blog in the same way. I just cannot, it takes too damn long. When there is something I feel is worthy of a post (funny, insightful, whatever), my thoughts will flow freely and it will be something I want to do, a temporary break and release.

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I wanted to try and get to 11 goals but am suddenly out of ideas… and I think all 10 of these are a pretty good place to start at. More will be added to the list as the semester progresses but for now it works and the immediate plan is to get the semester off to a near-perfect start.

 1) If you are currently in school, what are some of your goals or intentions for this semester? For those at work, any goals you have there?

2) For those who have/had disordered eating of some kind, did you notice how your ability to pay attention diminished considerably?

3) Have you ever fallen asleep during class? I used to constantly back in high school and err college too… Especially in those big lecture halls! Oops.

4) For those of you who are consistent early-morning workout people, do you do this by choice or necessity?

5) Completely random, but how cold is it where you live? It’s supposed to feel like -5 degrees tomorrow with the wind! Madness. Although I guess it’s that whole winter thing making itself known.

Have a most Glorious rest of your Tuesday, hopefully be back soon :)

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