Weekend Coffee Share: Tired, Overwhelmed, and The Oh Hellos

If we were having coffee, you’d know right away that I am a mess.  My week was awful.

You see, I’m not a crier.  I’ll go for months and months without shedding a tear.  This doesn’t mean I’m not emotional–I definitely am.  My emotions just don’t manifest in tears very often.

That being said, I’ve had FOUR meltdowns this week.

Three happened in my car.  The first of these took place after the first training session for my new job.  The second was this morning on the way to church.  The third was an hour or so ago on my way home from church.  The other sob-fest happened over my bowl of Rice Krispies cereal on Tuesday morning.

As I said, I am a mess.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my new job is proving more stressful than anticipated.  I’ve finally got most of the day-to-day things under control, so my time in the office goes fairly smoothly.  But there is so much I don’t know or understand.  I have zero experience with finances, bills, invoices, payments, etc.  And, suddenly, I need to know how to do all of these things.  The people who are supposedly there to help me have proved only marginally useful.

I spent the entire week doing my best to stay positive and keep afloat.  Two of my nights were sleepless ones.  The while time, I thought that, if I could just get to the weekend, everything would be okay.  HA.  JOKE’S ON ME.

On Friday, I had to go in for my second training session while the rest of my family went to the movies.  Which TOTALLY sucked.  My little brother was home from college and I wanted to spend time with him.  I got to the office a bit before seven, as planned.  At 7:08, I got a text from the lady training me (who used to be in my position) saying she would be there by 7:30.  She didn’t end up getting there until almost eight o’clock.  Which meant I spent an HOUR of my Friday night sitting alone in a cold office playing games on my iPhone because I forgot to bring a book.  Because of her tardiness, we weren’t able to cover all the information and now have to meet again on Tuesday evening.

So that all sucks.

If we were having coffee, you’d know that my fourth and final meltdown of the week happened because I almost got into a car accident on my way home from church this morning.  But thinking about that just makes me more depressed, so we won’t go into details.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I saw the band The Oh Hellos live on Thursday.  It was, by far, the highlight of my whole week.  The show was INCREDIBLE.

The first opener was a band called Family & Friends and it was obvious that it was their first tour.  You could feel their enthusiasm oozing from the stage.  Their expressions were wild and excited and you couldn’t help feel it too.  It energized the whole crowd and set the tone for the entire night. When the headliner finally took the stage, we were all screaming before they played a single note.

If I could transport myself into the past, I’d go back to being in that crowd on Thursday.  It wasn’t very relaxing, but boy it was fun.  My friend and I let loose and went crazy.  We sang along to all the words we knew.  We cheered.  We raised our hands and clapped.  I completely let loose and danced, jumping and flailing awkwardly, losing myself in the music.  Gosh, it was a blast.

You see, The Oh Hellos are a phenomenal band.  They make music not for profit, but because they’re passionate.  Their passion is evident in every note.  Their music is clearly rooted in Christian faith, but they’re not a Christian band.  Their instrumentals are rich and flavorful and all the songs have deep, sophisticated lyrics.  I’d gush about how awesome they are more, but it might be better to write about them in other posts.  (So stay tuned for that.)

So, yeah.  Aside from going to the show, it’s been a pretty crappy week.  On the bright side, things can’t get much worse.  If you don’t mind, I’m going to go curl up under a blanket with a comfort book and go into hermit-mode during the remainder of my day off.  Later, though, I’ll come back on WordPress and would really love to hear how your week has been.  What would you share over coffee?

The Oh Hellos during the finale of their set.  SO GOOD.
The Oh Hellos during the finale of their set. SO GOOD.

This post is part of a link-up at Part Time Monster

Disorganization is the Worst

I started a new job this week… oh boy is it stressful.

My first training session was 2.5 hours from 7-9:30 PM.  My predecessor essentially sat me down, showed me programs on the computer, and told me stuff.  Aside from lists of computer passwords and such, there was little to no organization.  No concrete list of “These Are Your Tasks”.  Just a bunch of do this, do that, call this person, figure this out.  Here you go, Amelia.  Have at it.

My brain needs structure in order to understand things.  Throwing information at me and plunging me into a situation does nothing but render me overwhelmed and stressed.  I got home at ten and went straight to bed.  It took me until midnight to fall asleep, mostly because I gave up trying and transported myself to another planet reading Andy Weir’s The Martian until midnight.  Even after that, I didn’t sleep much.

Since the job was left vacant three weeks ago, an overwhelming amount of emails, phone messages, and mail have been piling up that need to be addressed ASAP.  However, in my current semi-trained state, I don’t feel comfortable or confident addressing half of these things.

So I am going to do what my brain knows best: compartmentalize and prioritize.  My first priority is making sure I’m up to speed and comfortable with the various software and programs.  Once that’s done, I’ll figure out what needs to be done NOW.  I’ll make lists of what I don’t know and save the rest for another day.

My goal is, by the end of the job in a couple of months, to add some organization.  If I can get to a point where I can make a concrete list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, I’ll be satisfied.

Now on to actually making sense of the chaos.  Wish me luck!

It’s my lucky day

According to the original syllabus for my Health Communications class, we had a test today.

Now, this class is last on my priority list.  I’m only in it because I need four more credits to finish my minor and didn’t want to take the other option offered at 8 AM.  When it comes to homework, I’ll do everything for every other class before I so much as glance at Health Comm.  In fact, I care so little about this class that I made a decision before the semester even started that I wasn’t going to read the textbook.  (Which is out of character for me.  But with my work load, I need to prioritize.)

The good thing about the course is that the professor is extremely laid back.  He’s been reading a lot about new teaching methods and has taken on our class as his guinea pigs.  Instead of lecturing, he split us into groups, divvied up the textbook, and made us present the chapters to the class.  We covered a massive textbook in three weeks.

And now, it’s test time.

Last week, though, the professor had different idea.  On a whim, he pushed the test back to this Thursday and gave us a new assignment.  Once again, he split us into groups and gave us the guidelines for the test: “200 multiple choice, 50 short answers, 15 essay questions, worth 75% of grade”.  (Yes, I know.  These demands are RIDICULOUS.)  In our groups, we had to write an official policy brief explaining the problems with this exam and come up with a better option.

In class today, all the groups presented our briefs.  Many different options were suggested–shortening the test, having the class write it, a take-home option, and one group even proposed an individual oral exam.

At the end of the presentations, we all sat there anxiously.  “Please let it be a take-home test“, I prayed.  “I don’t have time to memorize nine chapters that I didn’t read.”

Then, the unthinkable happened.

The professor got up and told us that he really doesn’t care about testing and that we will better demonstrate knowing the material through applying it in the already-assigned upcoming projects.

I couldn’t believe my ears.  NO TEST.  An enormous weight was suddenly gone.

Now, I actually have time to get all my assigned reading done this week.  I actually have time to write my first big essay for my senior seminar.  I actually have time to step back, relax, and care for my mental health.

I can’t believe my luck.

My new happy place

It’s been a surprisingly beneficial thing, living alone.

I can come and go as I please.  I can do home workouts without fear of someone walking in on me in the middle of an awkward-looking exercise.  I can enter my weird little essay-planning mind palace, muttering to myself pacing back and forth as I sort through ideas.  I can curl up in the darkness reading my Kindle.  When I need to be alone, I can be alone.  When I need to be with people, I can search out my friends.

My  week has been relatively light homework-wise.  That hasn’t stopped me from working ahead, but for the first time all semester, I feel relaxed and at peace.

I feel like I’m right where I need to be.  Yes, I’m still looking forward to graduation and saying goodbye to academia.  But I’m finally in a place where I can sit back and enjoy my last few months of college.

Welcome to my new happy place.

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And so it begins…

Yesterday evening, I learned that one of my dearest friends was in town.  She graduated last year and I’ve only seen her a couple of times since then.

In light of a long, antisocial Saturday, her visit was an enormous blessing.  Sometimes when I’m alone for too long, I get stuck in my head and need someone to pull me back out.  Allison was exactly what I needed.  She popped in my apartment around six thirty, half an hour before I had to work.  A few minutes of rushed conversation was not enough, so against my usual habits, I ventured forth into the social sphere after my library shift ended at ten.  It was a fantastic night.  Talking with her, someone who knows me deeply and has been there since freshman year, was exactly what I needed.

The problem, though, is that I was out until one in the morning the night before Hell Week.  Oops.

Surprisingly, the repercussions have not been too severe.  I made it through class, work, and working out without feeling overly exhausted.  That hasn’t changed the fact that, whenever I enter my apartment I change from real pants to my p.j. bottoms.  But I’m coping quite well.

To add to my happy thoughts, my Victorian Lit professor cancelled the nearly thirty page article we were supposed to read this week.  And, as a bonus, this was his address in the email: “Dear ever-widening circle of semi-demons who batten on the helpless…“)  How can that not brighten your day?

Also, my paper on verbal hashtags has been submitted and I will be finishing up my Visual Journalism portfolio is nearly complete.  After today, I will be free to devote the entire week to writing my ten-page Dracula essay.

So far, so good.  As long as I stay on top of things, I should make it out alive.

Hell Week is coming

It’s the last week of classes.  Or, as my friends and I affectionately call it, Hell Week.

You see, finals are easy.  You have nowhere to go and nothing to do but study as hard as you possibly can all day, take the test, and move on to more studying.  You have one job: pass your tests.

Hell Week, though… it’s a doozy.  You have to balance all the end-of-semester tests, projects, and essays on top of classes and normal responsibilities.  It’s as if academia is pushing its acceleration pedal all the way down and its breaking the speed limit.  There’s no way you can keep up.  Days are spent rushing from one thing to the next and nights pass by in the library guzzling coffee trying to cope.

I’m currently sitting at the Circulation Desk.  I went to the library to print an essay, saw the librarians manning the desk, and asked if they needed someone to work.  Extra hours for Amelia!  Score!  Anyways… the library is an absolute beehive!  This is normal for right before finals, but we are still a week away.  Clearly, Hell Week is going to be painful for pretty much everyone.

What do I have in store for me this week?

Ten page essay due tomorrow.  Final portfolio due Wednesday.  Senior Banquet on Friday.  A plethora of Christmas parties, plus the Yule Ball (the best dance of the year) on Saturday.  Another ten page essay due next Monday.  And two final exams.

My goals this week: get the portfolio done, write the essay, try to stay sane.

It’s the final push.  Let’s do this.

Visual Journalism angst

My Visual Journalism class is going to be the death of me.

The class is project based.  The professor barely lectures.  We are given a large assignment, then spend the rest of the week’s class time working on it.  Usually this involves organizing and conducting interviews, shooting video footage, and spending copious amounts of time in the lab editing.  After hours and hours of work, we turn in our news stories.

I’m an extremely organized person when it comes to large assignments.  I get my ducks in a row right away–I reserve my camera equipment before any of my classmates, I plan interviews, I have a mental vision that, if things go according to plan, will pan out beautifully.

The problem is that things NEVER go according to plan.

With the first video-based project, we couldn’t do our interviews until just before the assignment was due, leaving me to spend 9 hours in the lab in two days.

With the second project, I had three interviews lined up one afternoon.  The first went well, but there was a technical error and I had no sound.  The second interviewee never showed up.  The third actually went well.  But my overall assignment failed to capture two sides of an issue, something I know I’ll be docked points for.

Now I’m on my final project for the class.  I got all my ducks in a row.  I scheduled an interview, reserved the equipment, and had a day by day schedule of how I’d get the work done.  But then, the day of the interview, my subject called in sick.  We rescheduled for the next day.  She cancelled again last-minute, ’cause she lost her voice.  By this point, my equipment was due back at the media office, but I begged my way into keeping it for the weekend.  I then attempted another interview, but once again, my subject did not respond to texts in time, I missed my opportunity on the day she was free, and she is now unavailable the rest of the weekend.  I have to bring the equipment back in early tomorrow and am unable to check it out again.  Which means I have no video footage for my final project.  Which means I am absolutely screwed.

This class makes me so frustrated because I have absolutely no control over the circumstances.  It’s not anyone’s fault my interviewee got sick, and there’s nothing to be done about it.  But I hate being organized, doing what I need to do, and then things not falling together.  It is incredibly stressful.

What am I going to do now?

I’m going to talk to my professor tomorrow, explain the situation, and hope that she’s feeling merciful.

This is becoming so much more stressful than it needs to be.  Can the semester please be over now?

Keeping my chin up

Stress levels continue to run high in College Land.  No, not to the extent where the raging College Monster attacks, but I’m definitely burning out and doing so fast.  However, I have compiled a list of things to help keep my chin up.

1. It is Thursday.

Tomorrow is Friday.  Which means it’s the weekend.  Lots of homework, but no class!

2. Rewatching The Office

I’ve seen the first few seasons more times than I can count, but they never cease to be absolutely wonderful.

3. Mother is Coming

On Sunday, my mom is making the 3.5 hour drive to visit me in Morris.  We have a fun day out planned, including shopping, exploring Alexandria, and a nice dinner.  It’ll be good to spend time with her and get out of this tiny town.

4. My Birthday

It’s on Monday, which is exciting!

5. The new Into the Woods trailer

Not going to lie, I’m a bit skeptical about this one. As fabulous as Meryl Streep is, she’s no Bernadette Peters.  But it looks absolutely beautiful!

6. Pudding.

Am I going to eat pudding in the near future?  Probably not.  But the thought of it always makes me feel better.

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Fighting off the evil College Monster

Every once in a while, College likes to pick you up, toss you in the air a bit, and then to grind you into dust.  It doesn’t matter how diligent a student you are–no amount of non-procrastination shields you from its bloodthirsty gaze.  When College decides to devour you, you really don’t stand much of a chance.

But still, valiant scholastic warrior that you are,  you grab your textbooks, put your laptop in your bag (just in case) and step into the fray.  Wielding your mighty number 2 pencil, you are determined that no amount of homework, tests, and studying will defeat you.  You will not go down without a fight.

That pretty much sums up my week.  Unexpected projects and assignments have come up, leaving me to study every second of the day and still come up short.  I hit a point where I was sitting in my Visual Journalism class listening to the computer services guy teach us Adobe Premiere Pro and I was near tears from stress.  I felt like screaming, vomiting, and sobbing helplessly all at once.

But I didn’t.  I didn’t scream.  I didn’t cry.  And no, I didn’t vomit.  (Thank goodness.)

(If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve NEVER gotten this overwhelmed in my sixteen years of education.  Except for maybe that one time in fourth grade when my teacher made me cry.  Which is another story entirely.)

When the lecture was over, I plugged in my headphones and went to battle.  My tactics included a rude comment to my hover-happy professor about how I had a lot on my plate and just wanted to work.  I felt a bit bad, but that was soon lost as I began logging raw video footage for my big project due on Monday.  After a bit of that, I went off with my group to shoot another interview (producing another 45 minutes of footage to review before I can even think about entering the editing phase).

I miraculously had enough time to grab a bowl of cereal from my apartment, which I ate as I walked across campus and sat through the weekly IVCF large group meeting.  I sent the bowl home with my roommate, headed to the library to write the three page paper due tomorrow that I hadn’t started till today because I was too busy doing other assignments.

This is slowly turning into a rant.  I apologize about that.

The evil monster of College was out to kill today.  It certainly kicked my butt, and I know I’m not the only one.  Everyone I come across seems to be having one big terrible day.

Thank goodness it’s over.  Yes, I still have a mountain of work to do, but my textbook shield and pencil sword seems to have worked for now.

Time to hide out in the blanket fort under my bed, watch Downton Abbey, and forget about the world.  After a good night’s rest, I’ll be ready to resume battle in the morning.

Riding the stress wave of midterms

Midterms are quickly approaching.  And I find myself riding the wave of tension and stress that always rolls around this time of year.

Here’s what I’ve got standing between me and Fall Break (which is next Friday):

  • 3 page literary criticism response paper for Victorian Lit
  • Photo essay project for Visual Journalism
  • My final speech for Public Speaking, in which I will tirade about how awful Twilight is
  • Midterm for Visual Journalism
  • Midterm for Grammar and Language
  • 6-8 page paper for Victorian Literature
  • 15 minute presentation on some British marriage laws for Victorian Lit

Already this week I’ve written most of the response, begun searching articles for the presentation, and took a quiz for G&L (not mentioned on the list ’cause it’s already been taken).

Excuse me while I spend my night de-stressing over the most recent episode of Downton Abbey.  ‘Cause I’m going to be hitting the books hard this weekend and need to relax somehow!

Do you have anything stressing you out, readers?  What is your favorite way of relaxing?  Answer in comments!